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The Controversy, the Ovations, the Moments that Stood Out at Ames Event

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AMES, Iowa -- As two people walked out of Stephens Auditorium on the Iowa State University Campus Saturday evening, one said to the other, "The only thing anyone will talk about is Trump."

Without a doubt, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's controversial remarks at the Family  Leadership Summit about his party's 2008 presidential nominee John McCain, the Arizona senator and former prisoner of war in Vietnam, will get most of the headlines. The comments that McCain is "a war hero because he was captured" could dog Trump's campaign for as long as he is a candidate.

But there were other moments from the nearly nine-hour event.

Crowd: Bob Vander Plaats, the Family Leader's CEO, said the group sold more than 2,900 tickets. He said the auditorium holds just 2,700.

Candidates: 10 in all. Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham and Bobby Jindal.


  • The Standing Ovation Champ? It was a close contest. Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal brought the crowd to its feet numerous times.
  • Trump's faith. Much will be made outside of the event on Trump's comments about McCain. But another Trump answer may have been more uncomfortable to people in the room. Moderator Frank Luntz asked if Trump asks God for forgiveness. Trump replied, "I'm not sure I have. I just go and try to do a better job from there (after making mistakes). I don't think so. If I do something wrong, I think I just try to make it right. I don't bring God into that position."
  • Some in the crowd groaned after hearing Trump's response.
  • Graham's difficult childhood. Graham teared up talking about what he would say if his deceased parents could watch him from the audience. He said of his little sister he helped raise, "That Darline turned out really good...And I've tried hard. And thanks to you, I've come a long way...Love is not the size of the house, but what happens inside the house. I was well- loved. To all those kids who were not well-loved, I feel so sorry for you."

Here is video of the full remarks from all of the candidates.