Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - An influential social conservative group in Iowa has crossed off Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Ron Paul from consideration for its presidential endorsement.
Among other concerns, the group is not sure Cain is "knowledgeable or equipped" on foreign policy, and is worried about Paul's advocacy of states' rights regarding abortion and marriage.
Programming note: GOP presidential candidates face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C.
The Family Leader has narrowed its consideration to four candidates: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, according to a statement released Tuesday.
The dismissal of Cain and Paul comes just three days after both men attended a major event sponsored by the group, along with the four other candidates.
In its statement, the group said: "Regarding Mr. Cain, the board cited a narrative of questions versus clarity on the key issues of life, marriage, foreign policy, and presidential readiness."
The spokeswoman for The Family Leader explained further when contacted by CNN.
Cain previously "made a statement that the life issue should be decided by the states," Julie Summa said, referring to the issue of abortion rights.
The spokeswoman also explained its problems with Cain regarding foreign policy.
"That relates to the presidential readiness issue," Summa said. "There have been times that, we're not sure as an organization, that [Cain] is knowledgeable or equipped in that policy area."
The spokeswoman cited "past statements that [Cain] has made," though she did not want to specify those comments.
According to Cain's Iowa campaign chairman Steve Grubbs, Cain has consistently said that if federal legislators act on this issue, he will support those efforts. But if states act on it, "he will encourage those efforts."
"What matters to us is where Iowa voters stand on this issue. Herman Cain has consistently said that he is pro life. And he is the only non politician in the race," said Grubbs. "And in a year where Republicans are frustrated with the status quo, they're not going to listen to the family leader. They're going to vote for a candidate who's outside of the status quo. And that's Herman Cain."
Regarding Paul, The Family Leader also explained why he is no longer being considered for its endorsement.
"The stumbling block for the board regarding Representative Paul dealt primarily with "States' Rights" as it pertains to the sanctity of human life and God's design for marriage," the statement said.
Summa explained: "Dr. Paul believes that there should be no federal marriage amendment act - that that should be left up to the states."
"Similarly, he would not be an advocate of overturning Roe v. Wade. Because he believes that that should be decided at the state level," Summa added. "We are for limited government, just like Dr. Paul is. But we also believe that there are some key issues that require some oversight by the federal government."
Paul's campaign has responded.
"Dr. Paul is staunchly pro-life and pro-family," Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said in a statement. "And, the biggest threat to our families is our failing economy. Dr. Paul is the clear choice for pro-family voters because he is the only candidate with a plan to cut $1 trillion dollars of government spending, balance our budget and create jobs before our economy collapses, tearing families apart."
– Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN.
Cain signs anti-abortion pledge
Who can make a difference in New Hampshire?
Bachmann's big upset prediction
"The Family Leader" also crossed off Mitt Romney, but CNN skewed the Headline to make it seem like Ron Paul and Herman Cain only.
Endorse Fair and Equal Coverage in the Media!!
Here's today's question: What's the difference between the Family Leader (and similar groups) who want everyone in the country to be governed by their own interpretation of their religious faith, and the Taliban?
Answer: You guessed it: NOTHING.
Why don't they say that they crossed off Mitt Romney too? I don't see his name. But God forbid CNN gives him any bad publicity. They only give bad publicity to Ron Paul. This is a subtle way to tell ppl who to vote for, by putting an idea in ppl's heads. How obvious. No one cares about the Family Leader and their stupid choices. Rick Perry? Really? Really?
"States rights!! States rights....except when we don't agree on the issue" What a bunch of two-faced hypocrites
Dont forget Mitt Romney – he was also crossed off.
Roe vs. Wade is not going to be overturned no matter who is elected. It is a Supreme Court issue.
Reagan – did not overturn.
Bush I – did not overturn.
Bush II – did not overturn.
Making abortion a states rights issue is the best chance to stop abortions.
Great Job Iowa "Conservatives" dismissing the most conservative candidate...another victory for the MSM.
That is absolutely false. Ron Paul DOES favor overturning Roe v Wade. Because overturning Roe v. Wade would do exactly what Ron Paul wants, it would leave the abortion issue to the states. I think some people have a misconception about Roe v. Wade and think that overturning it would ban abortion nationally. It would not do that.
Notice they endorce from the bottom up follow the money and that's who bought the article ! Ron Paul is the real front runner why is freedom,liberty and -0- so bad ?
When is a States' Rights Party not a States' Rights Party? According to religious conservatives, the Federal Government should be used to force people to do things the Federal Government believes are correct, i.e. rights for the unborn, unless those issues are activities that religious conservatives are against, i.e. health care for the living. Then, the Federal Government is over-reaching.
I don't know much about this Christian group or what price they are asking to give an endorsement, but IMO, Ron Paul best represents the form of limited govt. that conservative Christians should be supporting. He is pro life, pro states rights, and has the best moral record of any of the candidates. According to my Bible, 1 Timothy 3:5 says "If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of (even greater leadership?)". Conservative Christian groups would be wise to endorse candidates who exhibit better moral character and integrity, regardless of political affiliation. We need leaders we can trust, and right now, Ron Paul is the only person in this race who has remained consistant in his message & character.
I call bull! Iowan's thumbing of Paul has nothing to do with federal law on marriage. It has everything to do with Paul's ACTUAL fiscal conservatism which would deny Iowa the billions in subsidies it gets every year. That's the reason most republicans also fear him, because unlike most republicans, Paul would cut EVERYTHING, including the hundreds of billions of wasted dollars that go to republican buddies and supporters.