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On campaign trail, Romney ratchets ups God rhetoric
Early in his campaign, Mitt Romney spoke at Liberty University, the largest evangelical Christian university in the world.
September 14th, 2012
03:14 PM ET

On campaign trail, Romney ratchets ups God rhetoric

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – At campaign events these days, Mitt Romney often says that if he is elected president, he will emphasize the role of God in American society and will not “take God out of the public square.”

That kind of rhetoric is a departure from earlier less God-focused versions of the Republican candidate’s stump speech and his early apprehension with discussing his Mormon faith.

According to Mark DeMoss, Romney’s adviser to the evangelical community, such lines are designed to create a contrast with a Democratic Party that had to fight to get God into its platform at its recent convention.

“I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party,” Romney has been saying in his stump speech since the Democratic platform fight this month.

The former Massachusetts governor used the line at a campaign stop in Mansfield, Ohio, on Monday. In nearly the same breath, he said that “we are nation under God.”

CNN Belief: Can Mitt Romney’s evangelical ambassador seal the deal before Election Day?

DeMoss says the new rhetoric is not a departure from anything but is “as much as a response to something that really shocked a lot of people.”

“I think the governor is probably doing two things,” said DeMoss, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign: “reinforcing his own commitment to God and, secondly, showing some contrast.”

Some religious leaders and scholars see Romney's new God talk in a somewhat different light.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and media commentator, said Romney’s line that “I will not take God out of my heart” is a coded way to question to veracity of the President Barack Obama’s Christian faith.

“Critiquing the president for taking God out of the public square when he regularly refers to God and implicitly critiquing him for taking God out of his heart, any way you look at it, is offensive,” Martin said.

In his critique of Romney’s religious rhetoric, Martin cited Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

DeMoss, a Christian PR executive, said questions about the president’s faith should not be read into the speech.

“I take that comment as a reinforced pledge and commitment that God is not going to be stripped from anything if he has anything to say about it, whether it is his heart or the public square or the party platform,” DeMoss said. “I think it would be unreasonable or unfair to suggest that that was a comment on the president.”

Last week, at an event in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Romney pledged to keep God on U.S. currency.

“Our pledge says ‘under God,’”  Romney told thousands of energetic supporters at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach. “I will not take God out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coins. And I will not take God out of my heart.”

On Tuesday, the anniversary of terrorist attacks of September 11, Romney tweeted, "On this most somber day, America is united under God in its quest and freedom at home and across the world."

The increased God rhetoric adds to a campaign that has frequently discussed religious issues, even as Romney says the economy is the most important issue.

From debates over religious liberty – sparked by the Obama administration's "contraception mandate" for health care plans – to abortion rights, the Romney campaign has taken stands on a number of religious issues, attempting to draw a distinction with Obama.

CNN Belief: Religious exemptions grow in contraception mandate

Jacques Berlinerblau, a Georgetown University professor with an expertise in religion and politics, says he sees the change as a response to a president who is doing better in recent polls.

“When (Republicans) get nervous about a loss, they go into base-whip-up stage,” Berlinerblau said. “They try to energize the base even more.”

He argues that such rhetoric will not appeal to “moderate religious voters” and that it is pushing Romney off his economic message.

“They are totally getting off-script,” Berlinerblau said. “We hear that this election is all about the economy, but now we are talking about religion and faith issues.”

DeMoss says it's possible to emphasize both religious and economic issues.

“I am comfortable with the balance that he has struck about talking about his faith and other people's faith, and I was comfortable with the balance at the Republican convention,” DeMoss said. “It is part of the equation, but it is certainly not the dominant part.”

- CNN’s Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • God • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (3,354 Responses)
  1. Chris33

    Bain Capital being investigated for tax evasion

    ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s attorney general is investigating tax strategies of some of the nation’s largest private equity firms, including Bain Capital, founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, an official familiar with the probe said Sunday.

    Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is examining whether the firms have abused a tax strategy to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe. The practice involves converting some fees collected for managing accounts into fund investments, resulting in a lower tax rate.

    September 16, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Athy

      No wonder Mittzi won't release his tax returns.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  2. Bill Fitzgerald

    And obama and Biden ratchet up the beer drinking! yuk yuk, We'll show the people we are one of them by slammin some beers and golfing instead of passing a budget because votes are what matter not the American people. Can the dems not see through this?

    September 16, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • hogwash Dao

      You are gright: know GOD see thru all of this, but RePUBICons can't see it , sadly 🙁

      September 16, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill,

      'passing a budget'? What are you talking about. Congress won't do anything until after the election, and that depends on who gets elected.

      You do know that it is Congress that passes budgets, not the POTUS or VPOTUS right?

      September 16, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • hogwash Dao

      Speaker Bohnner talks to GODD every day, why can't he get a budget passed ? God not listening to his prayers 😉

      September 16, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Athy

      Bill, your lack of knowledge concerning our government is appalling. Did you get through eighth grade?

      September 16, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  3. Reality

    Only for the newcomers:

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As does Biden and Ryan)

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
    ========================================================================================
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    September 16, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  4. GO_GOP

    Wake up people and turn to the LORD. Otherwise what will you do on judgement day when you stand in front of him?
    I at least have the insurance of my faith in HIM. What will you do you fools?

    September 16, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Athy

      I'll kick him in the ass.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • hogwash Dao

      YOU: Fools are those who kept saying GOD in VAIN when they are mindless and irrational

      September 16, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • End Religion

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager

      September 16, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  5. Chris33

    The Republican equation....

    Romney + Karl Rove + Rush Limbaugh + Grover Norquist + super rich + $uperPACs = 1%

    September 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  6. GO_GOP

    We need GOD in our lives to take us out of this mess. Only GOP can bring back GOD into our lives, schools, courtrooms, government. VOTE GOP.

    September 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      NOPe

      September 15, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Athy

      Bullshit.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Luke

      Yes, we all need a bit more Lord Vishnu in the school system.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      God has never been in the government of the United States or in the federal courts, and not (legally) in state government or courts since the first amendment was ratified.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • GOD isn't in your life, GO_GOP? Do you really believe that the Republicans can change that for you?

      September 16, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  7. Sleepless in Cali

    @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV- Still can't find the reply button eh?
    -------–
    Dearie, your meds are under the toilet tank. Remember you put them there? NO? No surprise here.

    September 15, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're aren't all there, are ya?

      September 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Poor old dear. 9:00pm in California is way past her bedtime and she's borrowed her grandchild's laptop.

      We all should be safe, so long as no one teaches her how to paste. She'll want to eat the glue.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  8. Chris33

    Promoting the financial interest of the 1% is the true agenda of the Republican Party. The party's astronomical fundraising figures demonstrate this. Romney is one of them. To stay in power, the elites manipulate middle class voters into focusing on emotionally-charged social issues, while ignoring financial policies that undermine the existence of the middle class.

    September 15, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  9. Sleepless in Cali

    @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
    ------–
    What the heck kind of nonsensical statement is that? Sounds like YOU need YOUR meds DEAR - and LOTS of them!

    September 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Still can't find the reply button eh?

      September 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      So you really are unable to find the 'Reply' button then?

      Are you using your grandchild's laptop for the first time dearie?

      It really would help keep your ranting contained – just in case someone actually wanted to accept the challenge of trying to follow it.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  10. jude

    These claims about "keeping God in the Public Square" are the last refuse of a losing candidate. Mitt is just unfit for high office and pandering to the fundamentalists proves it once again.

    September 15, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  11. Marty

    Only see enn enn would call religion "rhetoric".

    September 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Marty

      this: "“I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party,”

      Sounds like rhetoric to me. From the OED:

      rhetoric, n.
      4 In extended use
      c. The language or discourse characteristically associated with a particular subject, concept, or set of ideas.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Marty

      My mistake. Only these yellow journalists, and you.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  12. Sleepless in Cali

    @ Tom, Tom
    ---------–

    Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
    Stole a pig, and away did run;
    The pig was eat
    And Tom was beat,
    And Tom went crying
    Down the street

    Yep! That's the guy!

    September 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Troll la la lol la lol la lol.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How wonderful that your mommy read to you!

      September 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  13. Mike

    Why doesn't Mitt talk about his Godliving on a planet named Kolob? Pure insanity. We need an Atheist in the White House!

    September 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  14. St Xavier

    Mitt Romney's puppet managers use invisable strings.

    September 15, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  15. Bill Fitzgerald

    Obamas message before-hope and change. Now-Forward. What? Do you really think we are that stupid to fall for one liners? What a joke this guy is thinking we are that dumb. And the Gaffe of all gaffes was at the democratic convention when they took the vote by Yea or Nay and the nays were easily 50% but the dems shoved their agenda down our throat anyway! And The lass of Mitt Romney in coming our against the weak obama on this mideast crisis is great. Mitt knew it would hurt his image but went ahead anyway because as he said "I am not worried about the campaign." He is Only worried about America and he just proved it by taking that risk, Thank you Mitt Romney for standing up for America!

    September 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • TAXpayerSUPPORTINGthe1%

      I am sorry to tell you, Bill, that you are REALLY that STUPID when you think MITT is at your camp. I know it when I read your comments. I could be wrong if you are one of the 1% multi-million or billionaires we middle class tax payer supporting like we do supporting your friend MITT. I can bet hundred to 1 that you are not part of that 1% group because you wouldn't bother to write if you do. You would ask your secretary to do that!!
      In my opinion, you are likely unemployed or in a low paying job. MITT is not your answer. He cares less about you. You just think he would because he is white. YES, he is white. But he is part of the 1%. He only has his self interest and the rest of 1% in mind if he reaches that far. The only logical reason that you like MITT and thinks that he is good for you and the United States is that you are a RED NECK.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • youpeople@

      Bill – you should really go the library and read more books on the religion of Mitt – – – He is running to fulfill his religion's "White Horse Prophesy"; he is not concerned with the 99%. If you're in the 1%, well good for you. And when Mitt mentions god, we would certainly like to know which one of his multiple gods he is referring. And as his supporter, you should know that he will become a god when he dies to populate the planet he is given with his own spirits wives.......yeah, this guy has it together – – -NOT.

      September 16, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  16. Sleepless in Cali

    @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    You should change your screen name. There's much better one that's perfect for you. Ready?

    "Brainless in Cali"
    --------
    You idiotic comments mean diddly to me, Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son (who accomplished absolutely NOTHING in his life!)

    September 15, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm a "her", Brainless.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      if his comments meant nothing to you, you wouldn't have replied. You've instead shown yourself to be in love with him.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      ugg, now i'm brainless too. DOH!

      September 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      sleepless and tom, tom, sitting' in a tree
      K I S S I N G
      first comes fighting
      then comes marriage
      here comes Sleepy Jr in a baby carriage!

      September 16, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  17. Sleepless in Cali

    @GI Joe
    --------–
    GI Joe is nothing more than a plastic puppet! Get it? Probably not, that would take some intelligence.

    September 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You should change your screen name. There's much better one that's perfect for you. Ready?

      "Brainless in Cali"

      September 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  18. Patricia Artist

    RomIRONY is a pandering fool who will do or say anything to win. He's in a grab for power. His multisided personality is disgusting as is his stupidity. Is this really the best the Repubs could come up with?
    Seriously, if someone told him he woudl be elected if he told them he was a Baptist, he'd try!
    Obama deserves to win and will win. America is not this stupid. Bush twice was more than enough!

    September 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  19. Sleepless in Cali

    @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    -----–

    You have nothing, have earned nothing, and own nothing. You're a loser who hates those who have achieved something. How sad a life you have! But you still can't have what I have earned, get it????????????

    September 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would anyone need anything from you, you little dweeb?

      September 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      What you've earned? Why would anyone want disrespect from everyone who knows you, Sleepless?

      September 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Californian insommniac

      You said (and I quote) "You have nothing, have earned nothing, and own nothing. You're a loser who hates those who have achieved something. How sad a life you have! But you still can't have what I have earned, get it????????????"

      My banker would disagree, but I am struggling with contex here.

      Are you having difficulties with the 'Reply' button dear? It's blue and right under any of the original posts here. Perhaps you need a nice cup of tea and a lie down while someone fetches your meds.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    Sleepless wants us to explain everything. Could he/she be a low-info troll? Explain it to me. ha ha ha ha ha haha

    September 15, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.