If You Skipped This Weekend's GOP Sobfest, Here Are 8 Awesome Moments You Missed

herman cain newt gingrich thanksgiving

Photo: AP

Those of you curious to see what it looks like when six presidential candidates start crying missed your opportunity this weekend, when Republican hopefuls gathered in Iowa for an almost uncomfortably emotional forum on social issues and family values. The “Thanksgiving Family Forum,” was hosted by the Family Leader, a controversial Christian organisation run by Iowa conservative kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats has openly billed the event as a chance for the state’s religious conservatives to rally around a candidate who can beat Mitt Romney. Romney, a Mormon, did not attend the forum.

The other candidates took advantage of Romney’s absence by showing off their most un-Romneylike sides. Gathered around a faux Thanksgiving table in a Des Moines megachurch, the 2012 hopefuls turned on the waterworks as they talked about their relationships with God and family.

The forum was mostly just a well-scripted sobfest, absent the heated confrontations that have characterised other 2012 presidential debates. But that doesn’t mean it was boring — as the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs puts it, it was actually kind of like a “dishy talk show,” which made for some quality Saturday night entertainment.

Herman Cain managed to tie 9-9-9 to God

Never one to disappoint, Cain miraculously managed to find a way to weave his 9-9-9 tax plan into a discussion about religion.

The moment came after Michele Bachmann commented that church pastors are intimidated from talking openly about their faith outside of church. Cain noted that they are intimidated because of 'the tax code and the IRS,' and it goes from there.

Here's the video, courtesy of the Daily Beast:

He also cried

For the second time in less than a week, Cain got pretty choked up talking about his wife Gloria. Recounting the moment he told his wife about his Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, Cain broke down onstage, prompting Rick Perry to pat his back in a show of manly support.

Cain also opened up about how he regrets not spending more time with his kids.

Watch the video below.

So did Rick Santorum

Santorum brought nearly every one of the 3,000 people in the audience to tears with a moving story about his youngest daughter Isabella, who suffers from severe chromosomal defects.

He even confessed that he initially withheld his love for her because he feared her loss.

Here's the video:

Newt Gingrich cried too

Gingrich skirted the whole divorce/adultery thing, but talked a LOT about redemption, even choking up a little bit at a few points.

Moderator Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, transformed into Dr. Phil in an effort to get Gingrich to open up about his tangled personal history, which includes adultery, three marriages, and that uncomfortable sickbed divorce. But Gingrich confessed on his own terms, acknowledging there was 'a great deal of pain that I caused others,' without actually mentioning his divorces.

He told the audience that he was 'collapsing' emotionally during the 1990s, and that healing 'has required a great deal of pain, some of which I have caused others, which I regret deeply.

Michele Bachmann went heavy on the drama

Ron Paul's not very good at soul-searching

Not one for public self-revelation, Ron Paul clearly struggled to drum up an emotional testimony that could rival his opponents' teary performances.

When Paul did make an attempt at soul-searching, the result was almost comical. Asked to reveal his biggest personal shortcoming, Paul said he doesn't like to watch himself on television 'because all I see are my imperfections.'

Gingrich, the not-Romney candidate of the week, had the night's biggest applause line when he went after Occupy Wall Street protesters for being entitled and lazy.

Quoting Captain John Smith, Gingrich said his motto is 'If you don't work, you don't eat,' and told protesters to go 'take a bath' and 'get a job.'

Mitt Romney's Mormon 'problem' was the elephant in the room.

Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, was notably absent from the debate -- an understandable choice, given the Family Leader's open hostility toward the Mormon candidate. (Jon Huntsman, also a Mormon, wasn't invited.)

Family Leader founder Bob Vander Plaats, a well-known Romney critic, couldn't resist taking a little jab at the candidate in his opening remarks, telling the audience that 'the next President of the United States will present to you tonight.'

The candidates themselves avoided mentioning Romney during the debate, although Cain referred to him at one point as 'Mitt who? and Gingrich and Luntz did engage in a little thinly-veiled Romney bashing.

Santorum, however, was a little less measured:

'Clearly this was a forum that Mitt Romney was not particularly comfortable with,' Santorum told reporters after the forum. He added that he didn't think Romney could handle a debate that explores 'why you believe what you believe and where that came from.'

Source: CNN

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