Palmetto Freedom Forum: GOP Presidential Candidates Answer Questions Ahead Of 2012 (VIDEO)

09/05/2011 03:13 pm ET | Updated Nov 05, 2011

Five Republican presidential candidates are participating in Monday's Palmetto Freedom Forum.

HuffPost's Jon Ward relays background on the GOP primary event:

...leading candidates will each sit alone onstage for 21 minutes to face questions from conservative firebrands Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). They will be pressed on their allegiance to the tenets of conservative orthodoxy, and each will likely face a higher level of scrutiny than they would in a group setting. But that isn't the reason their campaigns may be dreading the event.

DeMint will quiz the candidates on ways to make the government smaller, while King, according to one source, will focus on immigration. But the sleeper threat will be the third panelist asking questions Monday in Columbia: Robert George, a Princeton professor who chairs the National Organization for Marriage.

In a last-minute change of plans, Texas Governor Rick Perry signaled on Monday that he would not take part in the event and instead would head back home to deal with wildfires plaguing the Lone Star State.

GOP candidates participating in the forum include: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), and former Godfathers's Pizza CEO Herman Cain.