Rand Paul defends 'unborn' in courting evangelicals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Among the potential Republican presidential candidates who've been looking for the support of religious conservatives today is Rand Paul -- who, in an address to the Faith and Freedom Coalition, vowed to fight against abortion for the rest of his political career.

The Kentucky senator is a libertarian favorite who often downplays the Republican Party's focus on social issues. But today, speaking to the group in Washington, he promised to, in his words, "stand up for unborn children."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told the gathering that Republicans aren't fighting hard enough to protect the institution of marriage -- which Santorum described as "the most basic institution that holds the family together." He said, "Children need mothers and fathers."

Organizers say more than 1,000 evangelical leaders are attending the conference, which is designed to mobilize religious conservative voters ahead of the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential contest.

They are also hearing today from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.

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APPHOTO DCMR111: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks at Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014. Organizers said more than 1,000 evangelical leaders were attending the conference, designed to mobilize religious conservative voters ahead of the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential contest. While polls suggest that social conservatives are losing their fight against gay marriage, Republican officials across the political spectrum concede that evangelical Christian voters continue to play a critical role in Republican politics. (AP Photo/Molly Riley) (20 Jun 2014)

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