In Iowa, candidates get personal

November 21, 2015

Republican U.S. presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum pray at the forum in Des Moines, Iowa November 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

When an Iowa family-values group hosted a forum for Republican presidential hopefuls on Friday, it was a time for the candidates to share emotional stories of experiences that tried their faiths.
Texas  Senator Ted Cruz of Texas told the crowd in a Des Moines auditorium that he struggled when he was in college and law school with his parents’ decision to get divorced.
“I remember I would type out page after page of scriptures from the Bible that I would send my parents,” said Cruz, who speaks in public about his parents’ relationship struggles when he was a child but does not as often discuss their later divorce.
“That’s something that I have repented for the arrogance that I showed to my parents…I was convinced somehow I could stop it, and I think that was hurtful to my parents.”
Seven Republican candidates appeared at the forum, which was hosted by the Iowa-based Family Leader. Several White House hopefuls want to win the support of evangelical voters before the state holds its caucuses next year.
The Family Leader has not endorsed a candidate. Bob Vander Plaats, the group’s head, has said it would not do so until after the forum, which touched on subjects ranging from foreign policy to education.
The room grew quiet and serious as the candidates told their own stories of loss and personal pain. Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told the crowd about losing a child who was born prematurely, while former business executive Carly Fiorina described the death of her daughter.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson recalled performing surgery on a child who died, saying: “I have always acknowledged God for the successful surgeries, but he also gets the blame for the ones that are not successful because my job is to do the very best that I can do. 
“I must recognize always that there is a power that is greater than me.”
No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see