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  DeMint summons GOP hopefuls for forum at which he'll star
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ContributorHomegrown Democrat 
Last EditedHomegrown Democrat  Sep 04, 2011 08:11am
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MediaNewspaper - Kansas City Star
News DateSunday, September 4, 2011 09:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionSen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, often dubbed Senator Tea Party for his avid national following among GOP activists, is trying to parlay last year's success in getting conservatives elected to Congress into the role of presidential kingmaker.

It doesn't hurt that DeMint's state, South Carolina, will host the Republicans' first-in-the-South presidential primary early next year.

On Monday, DeMint will demonstrate his clout when he quizzes six Republican White House aspirants on their commitment to slashing government spending, diminishing Washington's place in Americans' lives and fighting for a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget.

It's a sign of DeMint's influence that the GOP presidential race's six top-polling candidates agreed to spend Labor Day with him in South Carolina doing interviews for a chance to land the biggest political job of all. The prize: DeMint's endorsement in a primary that has chosen the eventual GOP nominee in every contested White House election going back to Ronald Reagan's upset win in 1980.

"This is not a bachelor forum," DeMint told McClatchy Newspapers. "It's a forum that will allow them to move beyond talking points and let the people of South Carolina know what they really believe."
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