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Sep 21, 2010

Values Voter Summit unites conservatives

by Katie Bell

A small group of Liberty students, faculty and administration had the opportunity to listen to and meet prominent members of the Republican Party at the Value Voters Summit over the weekend in Washington, D.C.   

The event made national headline news.

Chairman of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver, Rev. Johnnie Moore and Ergun Caner were among the event’s prominent speakers. 

The GOP drew national media attention as the celebration of Constitution Day on Sept. 17, 2010 marked the beginning of a two-day summit which brought together 2,000 of its members at the annual Family Research Center sponsored Values Voter Summit.  The event was held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Friday’s session began with a breakfast sponsored by both Liberty and the Liberty Council. 

“The idea of a ‘values voter’ has drawn the ire of many who claim that those who focus on social issues distract from the winning issues — the economy for example. The Values Voter Summit is here to disprove this idea,” senior Josh Damon said. 

The Values Voter Summit was covered by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, CBS, MSNBC, NBC, ABC and was featured on Sunday Morning’s Meet the Press. 

“This is a huge event for the conservative movement. At least three potential presidential candidates are here,” Chris Neefus, a Media Research Center intern said.

One of the most noteworthy events of the summit was Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana winning the straw poll for 2012 GOP Presidential candidate with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee coming in second. 

 “I am very excited to be at the Values Voter Summit. It is a unique opportunity to gather with so many like-minded causes. It is comforting that event attendees are of a similar mindset, they all want to go out and change the world,” Alane Moore J.D., a student at Liberty’s Theological Seminary, said. 

The conference was sponsored by the Family Research Council, Liberty University, Liberty Counsel, the Heritage Foundation and the American Family Association and was co-sponsored by the O’Leary Report and the Media Research Center.

This year’s audience was comprised of conservatives from all walks of life. Audience members included young collegiate idealists, military veterans and senior citizens.

 Senators Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Rick Santorum (Pa.) and Mitt Romney (Mass.) addressed the crowd alongside former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the Duggar family from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting.  

“It has been a very dynamic conference. I enjoyed meeting Mike Huckabee and hearing him speak,” senior Michael Wendt said. 

Speakers discussed a range of topics, including limiting government, the importance of the nuclear family unit, faith, patriotism, radical Islam and its detrimental effects on America and the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. 

“Without faith, family and virtue, government takes over,” Senator Rick Santorum
(Pa.) said. 

The Values Voter Summit made headlines in part because it marked Christine O’Donnell’s first appearance at a national political forum since winning the GOP nomination in Delaware’s primary election to fill Vice President Joe Biden’s senate seat. Her speech elicited cheers from the crowd and caught the interest of the national media. 

“The elite don’t get us — they call us wacky and wing nuts. We call us, ‘we the people,’” O’Donnell said. 

 “Maybe in the White House or in the Speakers Galley, family, faith and values is not the focus, but it is still the focus of the American people,” Bill Toye of the Media Research Center said. 

Two-thousand conservative constituents and prominent GOP leaders gathered for a two-day summit and national media listened in on the conversation. 

“They may try, but they will never have the last word on liberty,” O’Donnell said. 


BELL is a news reporter.

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