Candidates: Obama Violating Freedom of Conscience

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The Republican presidential candidates have their eyes on three states in the race to take on President Barack Obama for the White House.

Colorado and Minnesota are set to hold caucuses Tuesday, while Missouri will hold a primary.

Rather than taking swipes at one another, the GOP candidates are focusing their attacks on the president.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum accused Obama of violating freedom of conscience.

They say the administration is wrong to force churches and their institutions to provide free contraception and abortion pills for their employees.

"Think what that does to people in faiths that do not share those views," Romney said while addressing a packed Colorado gymnasium Monday. "This is a violation of conscience."

"We must have a president who is willing to protect America's first right, our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience," he declared, drawing a round of applause from the audience.

Santorum expressed similar sentiments in Minnesota.

"Whether Catholics use birth control or not is really not the issue," he said. "The issue is can you force a Catholic institution to pay for services that are against the teachings of the Church?"

"And clearly the highest freedom in this country is the freedom of conscience," he said.

Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attacked the president's energy polices at the Colorado energy summit.

"This is the most anti-American energy administration that we've ever had," he charged. "And the consequences, you have the highest cost of gasoline in American history."

"At a time of high unemployment, at a time when we need more American energy to be safer in the world market, the president vetoes the Keystone Pipeline," he said.

As for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, he's invested days of campaigning and money for television ads in Minnesota, where he spent more time than his competitors, hoping to squeeze out his first win.

Frontrunner Mitt Romney clearly has the momentum and is now picking up larger shares of the Tea Party vote.

But the other candidates press on, like Santorum, who largely bypassed Florida and Nevada to crisscross Colorado and Minnesota, laying the groundwork among conservatives.

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.