At the CPAC convention Friday in Washington, the political candidates made contrasting appeals to conservatives but vowed to repeal all or parts of what they call "Obamacare."
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who swept three nomination contests earlier in the week, said that with the health care law, Obama "is telling the Catholic Church that they are forced to pay for things that are against their basic tenants and teachings."
"It's not about contraception," said Santorum, a Catholic. "It's about economic liberty."
Romney, a Mormon who in the past supported abortion rights, vowed to reverse "every single Obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life."
Romney won the CPAC straw poll with 38 percent of the 3,408 votes cast. Santorum drew 31 percent, and Gingrich was favored by 15 percent. All three candidates addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
Romney had encouraged college-age people to attend the convention, and 44 percent of those who voted were students.
Paul had 12 percent. He won the straw poll in the previous two years. Paul did not attend this year's conference to campaign in Maine.
Associated Press writer Charles Babington contributed to this report.
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