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Huntsman first candidate to support S.C. conservative group’s family challenge

Former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China Jon Hunstman is the first contender in the 2012 presidential race to respond to a recent challenge from South Carolina’s influential Focus on the Family affiliate, Palmetto Family Council.

As The American Independent recently reported, the Palmetto Family Council is using its state’s influential primary status to communicate its top issues to the presidential hopefuls. These are issues — among them marriage, abortion and religion in public life – that Palmetto has lobbied over in the past while receiving federal money for faith-based programs. And Huntsman is the first to show his allegiance to Palmetto’s causes.

Anticipating its first-in-the-South GOP presidential primary, the Columbia-basedPalmetto Family Council (PFC) recently sent out a Family ’12 challenge to all the presidential contenders asking them “to make family a centerpiece of their campaigns.” The challenge was accompanied by an indicators report showing that South Carolina has higher crime and welfare rates than the nation has a whole.

In an email to supporters, PFC President Oran P. Smith said Huntsman’s letter (pdf) was delivered Friday. Smith also indicated other candidates have “expressed interest” in Palmetto’s Family ’12 campaign, which essentially asks candidates to present solutions they would enact as president to restore family life.

From Huntsman’s letter (PDF):

As I stated at the Faith and Freedom Conference last month, “I do not believe the Republican Party should focus only on our economic life to the neglect of our human life. That is a trade we should not make. If Republicans ignore life, the deficit we will face is one that is much more destructive. It will be a deficit of the heart and of the soul.”

[...]

I agree with you that the decline of the family seriously threatens our future in America. Broken families not only lead to broken spirits — they lead to increased poverty, homelessness, crime, and government dependency.

[...]

As Governor of Utah, I signed some of the nation’s toughest laws to limit abortion and defend those who cannot defend themselves. We made second-trimester abortions illegal, required parental consent for minors, and allowed women to learn about the pain their aborted child would feel. My goal is to bring these pro-life, pro-family values to the White House.

[...]

I applaud the Palmetto Family for your FAMILY ’12 project. The research you have done clearly illustrates just how important it is to restore America’s Foundation.

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