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McCain Sets Self Apart in Debate

The candidates all said the military should not be asked to change its policy of barring openly gay service members from active duty, and they all endorsed English as the nation's official language. They also fielded questions about religion, morality and other social issues.

Speaking about being a Mormon, Romney said he shares values common in many faiths, including a belief in God, the Bible and Jesus. "I also believe that there are some pundits out there that are hoping that I'll distance myself from my church so that that'll help me politically. And that's not going to happen," he said.

Giuliani was asked about criticism from a Roman Catholic bishop in Rhode Island about his support of abortion rights.

At that point, lightning crackled outside the debate hall as a thunderstorm passed through and zapped the public address system, providing a humorous moment as the other candidates stepped away from Giuliani in mock fear.

Giuliani, who went to parochial school all his life, joked: "This is a very frightening thing that's happening right now."

Huckabee was asked about an answer he gave in a previous debate in which he said he does not believe in evolution. A former preacher, he offered a thoughtful sermon on the role of God in public life.

"Well, let me be very clear: I believe there is a God," he said. "I believe there's a God who was active in the creation process. Now, how did he do it and when did he do it and how long did he take, I don't honestly know. And I don't think knowing that would make me a better or a worse president."

Tuesday's debate was sponsored by CNN, WMUR-TV and the Manchester Union Leader. CNN's Wolf Blitzer served as moderator.

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