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The Family Leader Narrows Endorsement to Newt, Santorum, Perry and Bachmann, Slams Cain

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The Evangelical Group that hosted a Thanksgiving table discussion for GOP presidential hopefuls in Des Moines Saturday have narrowed their list of candidates in the running for their endorsement to four. The Family Leader headed by Iowa activist Bob Vander Plaats announced Tuesday that it has cut its list of possible 2012 endorsees to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

Coming at no surprise, the list did not include Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, who did not attend the event this past Saturday and have given strong implications that they will not be competing in the early Iowa cacaus. However, the exemption of Ron Paul and Herman Cain comes at perhaps a surprise given that both candidates have seen increased support at different times from Iowa Evangelicals and social conservatives. POLITICO writes that the group explained why they shied away from Cain and Paul in a press release, stating:

"Each individual of the seven member voting Board of Directors expressed many positives of Representative Ron Paul and businessman Herman Cain. The stumbling block for the board regarding Representative Paul dealt primarily with 'States’ Rights' as it pertains to the sanctity of human life and God’s design for marriage. Regarding Mr. Cain, the board cited a narrative of questions versus clarity on the key issues of life, marriage, foreign policy, and presidential readiness. The board did not give consideration to Governor Romney."

The Hill writes of the group's "clarity" line regarding Cain, "A Major diss to a candidate who has sought to garner support from social conservatives in the state." Some have speculated that Cain has lost face among social conservatives for his at times confusing stance on abortion. Cain belatedly signed the Susan B. Anthony List's anti-abortion pledge Tuesday, and had refused to sign an early pledge by the Family Leader that suggested African American children and families were in better shape during slavery.

The group explained that their concerns over Paul's view of states' rights meant that he did not adequately enough oppose abortion rights or gay marriage, according to The Hill.

The Family Leader endorsement is highly sought after by GOP candidates hoping to capture the hawk-eye state's crucial early caucus. Evangelical Christians make up approximately 60 percent of voters in Iowa's GOP caucus.

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