PLANO (CBS 11) — Six of the top Republican presidential candidates, minus front-runner Donald Trump, spoke at the North Texas Presidential Forum at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano Sunday.
Close to 7,000 people filled the pews. In many ways the candidates — former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — were preaching to the choir.
Each candidate shared the importance of their Christian faith with the crowd of mainly evangelical Christians.
"Obviously, it is a friendly audience but these questions need to be asked," said attendee and Prestonwood Church member Maria Bower. "Prestonwood is saying, as Christians, who is caring about what we believe in as Christians."
While the four-hour forum wasn't all about faith, it did dominate the discussion.
Each candidate was given 10 minutes to speak and then a 10-minute interview with Prestonwood Pastor Jack Graham.
"Everyone was invited, but we believe that the right people are in the room today (Sunday)," Graham told the audience.
Organizers said Trump along with the Democratic candidates declined the church's invitation.
During the four-hour forum, Cruz was the only candidate to mention Trump by name — and only briefly.
Perhaps the biggest jab at the republican front-runner came from Pastor Graham when he said during his interview with Jeb Bush, "George W. Bush did keep us safe, no matter what anybody says. You should be held accountable for ridiculous statements."
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