The six Republican presidential candidates mixed it up on an Iowa stage yesterday in their first “debate” in the state.The candidates spent about 20 minutes on ag policy. Arizona Senator John McCain began by attacking federal subsidies for corn-based ethanol fuel. The other candidates, like Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, offered a dissenting view. He calls ethanol a renewable resource that helps farmers and could help the entire country in an energy crisis.Gary Bauer said it was time for federal officials to live up to their promise to bust open new markets for farm goods.Publisher Steve Forbes spoke of expanding research to find new uses for ag products, as well as changes in trade policies.And conservative talk show host Alan Keyes offered a tribute to family farming. Keyes says if we lose the family farm, we lose the nursery of America’s moral character. All the candidates oppose abortion, but the issue last night was by what degree a candidate would pursue the anti-abortion agenda. Gary Bauer asked George W. Bush if he’d choose a pro-life running mate and pro-life Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe versus Wade. Bush says it’s presumptive to name a vice president before winning the nomination. Bush says he will seek someone who is loyal and shares his conservative views. After the debate, Bauer said Bush evaded his pro-life question. Bauer says he will continue to press Bush and Forbes on the issue.
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