Cain slammed by influential group of Iowa conservatives

A top organization of Iowa social conservatives slammed Herman Cain as it narrowed its list for a possible presidential endorsement list.

Cain and Ron Paul were dropped from The Family Leader's consideration, leaving Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann as the possible winners. Mitt Romney did not seek the group's endorsement.

Headed by the influential activist Bob Vander Plaats, the group criticized Cain, saying he lacked "clarity on the key issues of life, marriage, foreign policy, and presidential readiness" — a major diss to a candidate who has sought to garner support from social conservatives in the state.

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Cain might have angered some in the group when he refused to sign an early version of their pledge because it said that African-American children were more likely to be born into two-parent households under slavery than they were today.

The group said they had concerns Paul's view of states' rights meant he did not oppose adequately enough abortion rights or gay marriage.

Romney has long drawn the ire of Vander Plaats, who ran former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) successful Iowa campaign in the 2008 presidential election, in which Romney was a top rival.

Whomever the group backs could get a major boost in Iowa — the organization's board is made up of most of the state's top social conservatives.

Evangelical Christians make up approximately 60 percent of GOP caucus-goers in the state, giving them an outsize influence on the process. All of the candidates looking to recreate the successful coalition that vaulted Huckabee to a win over Romney in 2008 would get a major boost from this group.

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