A week remains ’til Iowa’s Caucuses. On the Republican side, the contest for social conservatives reaches new levels. Roughly one-third of Iowa Republicans identify themselves as social conservatives, and they do NOT vote in a block. Some favor the front-runner, George W. Bush, the self-described “compassionate conservative.” Gary Bauer, Steve Forbes, Orrin Hatch and Alan Keyes are also making pitches to those who favor issues like school prayer and a ban on abortion. At the end of Saturday’s debate, Keyes offered the most apparent appeal to social conservatives with a prayer. Also during Saturday’s debate, Orrin Hatch said the nation’s moral slide started when the Supreme Court banned prayer in the schools.On Saturday after the debate, Gary Bauer questioned Steve Forbes’ credentials on fighting abortion.On Sunday on Iowa Public Television, Steve Forbes said his message on abortion has been consistent.Also this weekend, 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole ran a newspaper ad saying Forbes’ negative ads last time around damaged his candidacy. On Sunday on Iowa Public Television, Forbes defended himself. He says the Dole ad is part of the Bush campaign to use others against him.Forbes also questioned the Bush education record. He says test scores have gone down in Texas while Bush is governor.
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