Published March 20, 2007
Republican presidential hopefuls step into a family fight as they court the evangelicals who have become crucial to the party.
White evangelicals or born-again Christians held one-quarter of all voters in 2004 and nearly 80 percent voted for Bush, according to national exit polling.
But Christian conservatives are split over whether to keep the movement's focus on abortion, marriage and chastity, or expand the agenda to include issues like AIDS, torture and global warming.
The founders of the religious right, now in their 70s, consider that a dangerous distraction.
GOP presidential hopefuls continue to seek the support of the Rev. Jerry Falwell of Lynchburg, the Rev. Pat Robertson of Virginia Beach and Focus on the Family's Doctor James Dobson.