Bachmann: social conservatives shouldn't settle

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann says social conservatives don't have to settle for a GOP nominee who doesn't share their values.

Bachmann opened a forum on faith and freedom Thursday ahead of a televised debate with her GOP rivals with a call for religious conservatives to get involved in politics. Her rivals were to follow her at the event on the sidelines of a three-day GOP meeting in Florida.

Bachmann says now is the time for the GOP to nominate someone "who is a true social conservative." She didn't mention her rivals by name.

The forums and debate come as the Republicans increase their criticism of each other. Front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have spent recent days trading jabs over Social Security and job creation.