Imagine a Thanksgiving dinner where only your least simpatico, most judgmental relatives show up, where the conversation veers between religious proselytizing and tearful mawkishness, where no alcohol is drunk and no food served, and where even the pumpkins decorating the tabletop are made of plastic. This largely sums up the so-called "Thanksgiving Family Forum," which on Saturday drew six Republican presidential candidates to a church sanctuary in Des Moines, Iowa, for a whole lot of sermonizing and damned little fun. Mitt Romney wisely elected to decline the invitation from forum sponsor Bob Vander Plaats, head of the controversial conservative group Family Leader. Jon Huntsman wasn't invited. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all took part.
The "Thanksgiving Family Forum" was formatted not as a debate, but rather as a series of values-oriented conversational topics introduced by Fox News pollster Frank Luntz. Luntz deliberately sought to minimize conflict among the participants, steering them toward collegial discussions of moral and religious philosophy. The outcome was a program very different from the recent round of cable news debates, far more personal in feel, and in many ways more revealing. Whether the revelations helped or hurt the candidates lies in the eye of the beholder.
Complete article at Huffington Post : http://huff.to/uM8Tdg