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Republicans At The Values Voter Summit, Part I

Friday, Republican candidates Fred Thompson, John McCain, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter tried to woo restive evangelicals at the Family Research Council's 2007 Values Voter Summit. Here's a look at how each appealed to the flock.

Fred Thompson explained his shifting stance on abortion:

"I can only say that after, for the first time in my life, seeing a sonogram of my own child, I will never think the same exactly again. I guess, more appropriately stated, I will never feel exactly the same again, because my heart now is fully engaged with my head. (Applause.) As president of the United States, no legislation will pass my desk, that funds or supports this procedure [abortion], without my veto." Full text here.

John McCain delivered a jeremiad against torture, explaining his faith with vivid recollections from his imprisonment in Vietnam:

"I am not naive. I know very well the tools some governments have resorted to when threatened--indefinite detention without trial, torture of prisoners and a belief that anything is permissible in dark places, where power is the only law. But these tools are not American tools, and the easy way is not the American way." Full text here.

Tom Tancredo gave a red-meat speech that drew cheers from the crowd, denouncing "hyphenated conservatism":

"I'm troubled and maybe you are, too, by the influx of what we call hyphenated conservatives nowadays--neo-conservatives are over here; paleoconservatives over there; compassionate conservatives in the White House; and the latest nonsense, common-sense conservatives ... We should not be surprised, however, at this turn to the Right during a presidential primary. It's just that conversions are supposed to be made on the road to Damascus, not on the road to Des Moines." Full text here.

Duncan Hunter spoke about Christian values and their relation to illegal immigration, the Iraq war, school vouchers, and the Contras:

"And I know a lot of folks here know about the controversy where the ACLU tried to chainsaw the cross off of the veterans' memorial overlooking the Pacific coast over the last couple of years. ... It's a great symbol of our Christianity and our beliefs and our veterans and our country. And my wife said, 'You know, you better introduce a bill to try to save it.' ... And we did, and the president signed it." Full text here.

--Barron YoungSmith