GOP hopefuls pay homage to religious right

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Washington gathering of religious conservatives this weekend has drawn nearly all the GOP presidential hopefuls to one stage.

That's something that a South Carolina debate and a major New Hampshire forum couldn't do a few weeks ago.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition's 2-day conference, which opened Friday, is proving that the religious right still plays a major role in the party's nominating process. That's true even though economic issues are dominating the 2012 elections.

Most of the candidates have spent more time on fiscal issues than on spiritual matters. But they're generally portraying the federal debt and health care policies as moral concerns.

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