Ralph Reed’s “Faith and Freedom Conference & Summit” kicks off on Friday and, as today’s New York Times reports, it serves as proof that Reed has been able to shrug off his deep ties to Jack Abramoff and regain his prominence and prestige as a leading Religious Right organizer:
As with the Christian Coalition, this group’s conference roster includes nearly all the likely contenders for the presidential nomination, including former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Herman Cain, a retired businessman, and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, as well as a famous almost-candidate, Donald Trump. There will also be evangelical leaders like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and establishment Republicans like Speaker John A. Boehner and Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman.
Many of the retirees gathered here could not even recall who Ralph Reed was, let alone ponder his past. But they loved his message. Weaving together themes of the Tea Party and evangelical Christians, he called the debt crisis a sign that the country has lost sight of its founding moral principles. He said that by working together, fiscal and cultural conservatives can “begin the process of turning the country around.”
Yesterday Reed appeared on The Jordan Sekulow Show to discuss the upcoming conference, during which he predicted that Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain would be the Religious Right’s candidates of choice:
Sekulow: Ralph, let me ask you about the field. Has anyone caught your attention that maybe is a name that people aren’t talking about enough or that is really exciting social conservative voters?
Reed: It’s awfully early, but there are two that I’m hearing on the ground that are really getting a close look. One is Herman Cain, who is a terrific speaker and has a compelling personal testimony in addition to his conservative credentials. And the other is Michele Bachmann.
I think if they both go – and Cain’s in and Bachmann looks like she’s going to get in – they’re both going to do extremely well among this constituency.
Reed then went on the predict that this event was not only going to change the lives of those in attendance, but the life of the nation as well … which is the same thing he said last year: