Values Voters Summit Highlights Palin Pick

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With the absence of John McCain and the anticipation of Hurricane Ike, this year's conservative voter hallmark, the "Values Voters Summit," remained a low-key event compared to years past.

Still, the annual Family Research Council conference managed to draw about 2,000 to Washington, D.C.

The 2008 summit appeared to be all about newcomer to the presidential race: vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, even though she did not attend.

But that didn't matter to many of her supporters, several of whom were would-be, first-time voters. The Associated Press reported about 60 Christian teens attended the conservative event.

"I'm very excited about Palin. We are starting to get more united as a movement," 18-year-old Rebecca Craig said. Craig attended the summit as an intern with the anti-abortion group, Americans United for Life.

Young women with the group TeenPact also attended to show support for the McCain-Palin ticket.

Conservative Confidence in Palin

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was among those who spoke at the event. He also showed confidence in Palin.

"They find Gov. Palin quite horrifying... Gov. Palin violates every norm they have," Gingrich said of the Democrats.

He also took the time to criticize the media's coverage of the governor, calling her interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson "stunningly distorted."

"There's a point where Charlie Gibson asks Gov. Palin about whether or not she believed that our soldiers were on a task from God and he quoted one-fourth of something she had said in her church," he said.

"Gov. Palin tried to explain... she was paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln," Gingrich added. "But you could tell on the look from Gibson's face that the idea was just beyond him."

Gingrich went on to say that the "elite media" are slowly moving away from "traditional American culture" in its news coverage.

"There's a secular... religion bias in the mainstream media," he said.

Endorsing Candidates

NFL Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, CNN reporter Lou Dobbs, former Gov. Mitt Romney and Benjamin Bull of the Alliance Defense Fund also spoke at the summit.

Overall, the FRC endorsed 130 candidates this weekend in judicial, congressional, and attorney general races. They did not endorse a presidential candidate.

Last year, all the Republican candidates for the White House attended the Values Votes Summit. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Romney proved to be favorites among the bunch.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama were invited to the event but did not attend.

Sources: Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Times, Family Research Council

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