Religious conservatives facing off at conference


OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — The early auditions for the Republican Party's next presidential contest are in full swing in suburban Washington, where some of the GOP's most prominent religious conservatives are facing off.

Friday marks the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which brings thousands of conservatives together each year to put their stamp on the Republican Party.

The day's speaking program features three former presidential candidates known for promoting social conservative values — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul takes the stage later in the day, setting up a clash of ideas between the libertarian-minded activists who flock to the conservative conference and the GOP's religious wing, which wields considerable influence over party affairs.

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