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. Peter Wolfe

    thecollegeadmissionsguru, I'm not part of a Neo-Nazi group but I know about scientific data and about he federal budget neither of which agree with current projections. Christians must be retarded to believe that you can continue to exploit the poor by ttheir own ignorance and setting up these government programs to be ineviatable failures in the first place. Who in the government and in the public of the American public allow people to consume drugs, alcohol, and become obese and you want to know why medicare/medicaid is broke? It's because of freedom get used to the truth that freedom is dead.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow, Pete. You could use some help in sentence structure. You come across at about the seventh- or eighth-grade level.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • The Mockingjay

      Athy is a college professor of the English language 🙂

      September 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Freedom has ALWAYS and will always only exist in the mind. All else is illusion. Get used to it.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Peter, first I am an atheist, I'll thank you NOT to put me in the other group. Secondly, a LOT of the Christian Right want to do what you are claiming to want to do. I just find what you are saying to be over the top and not at all a realistic solution to the problem as you see it.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • The Mockingjay

      Athy, could you tell the nice people where you went to college?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why? Are you jealous, Mockingjerk?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Also Peter, are you seriously claiming that the government would be able to force Sterilization and Ab ortions? Unlimited Freedom is pretty much a dream anyway, but the type of control you are talking about isn't going to happen...

      September 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • The Mockingjay

      Good to see you, Tommy. Could you jump up and down when you say that, please?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't need to do anything, MJ. All I had to do was post, and you took the bait like the good little guppy you are.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Mia Way

      Hey, Mokingjay. Wanna know how I can prove even the best colleges can roll out idiots? George Bush went to Harvard.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  2. Abinadi

    9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 28)

    September 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Athy

      More fucking bible babble.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Damocles

      Seriously, one original thought is all I ask for.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • The Mockingjay

      There is that wonderful vocabulary again. Did you learn those words in a bar or is that the way you talk in your family?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Athy

      You're not going to get it from Abi.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      I assune if you are attacking the form of Athy's comment you can't attack the content.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • redzoa

      Still fascinated that "God" chose 17th Century style English for his 19th Century "new and improved" revelations. Not Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, or some other interesting and ancient language, but the same language of the King James Bible (the language Smith would have most associated with "divinity"). I can't read any quote from the Book of Mormon without hearing the South Park tune, "dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb..."

      September 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  3. Peter Wolfe

    When you are on welfare or not, you do not have the right to over procreate to stretch the natural resources or soccial sfety nets to their extreme limits. Meaning that being on welfare means having no children or being sterilized/aborted outright. The days of unlimited freedom are over!

    September 16, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  4. MollyBee

    Why doesn't he talk about Joseph Smith and/or Brigham Young?

    September 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      He knows that IF the general public truly looks at Mormonism, I mean read all about it and study a little more about it, he would be toast. I mean he isn't going to win as it is, but the loss would be enormous if that happened.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • The Mockingjay

      TEN little angels,
      All dressed in white,
      Tried to get to Heaven on the end of a kite,
      Kite string got broken,
      Down they all fell,
      Instead of going to Heaven, they went to ...

      September 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're criticizing others' writing?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  5. The Mockingjay

    Ok, I'm back from church. Now, who wants to dance?

    September 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      well you obviously aren't Southern Baptist, cause they think dancing is the devil's thing.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Isn't dancing the de vil's thing?

      September 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  6. trent

    This Romney guy is a puppet of the Republican party. Sadly the GOP party today has become one of obstruction, denying voter, womens, minority, and workers rights. My grandfather who was a proud supporter of the Republicans would not recognize the party as one of conservative values and principles now. The extremes of the Tea Party and birthers have hijacked the Republican party. I don't even consider the GOP a party anymore it's more like a real life SNL (Saturday Night Live) act. What has happened to the GOP? Ronald Reagan, Teddy Rooselvelt and Abraham Lincoln would be rolling in their graves at this sorry party.

    September 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Athy

      They've gone too far to the right, well past the nutty fringe. After they lose in November there'll be some major changes in the party.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  7. Free Man in the Republic of Texas


    "You have to pass the bill to find out what's in it"
    "Get over your conscience"

    Hey Nancy...
    Our rights come from God Himself; NOT government.

    When you attack the freedom of religion of ONE American citizen
    you attack the freedom of religion of ALL Americans.

    Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! Acts 5:29
    But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. Acts 4:19

    September 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Damocles

      Since when do our rights come from a deity?

      September 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Wrong. Our rights come from ourselves, not god. There is no god.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      We have no more reason to believe anything early Xtian politicians said (Peter, Paul & Mary) than we do of the blabbing of later Xtian politicians (Joe Smith, Ryan & Romney). Zilch – nada.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Abinadi

      5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 28)

      September 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Damocles


      Was that supposed to be some kind of response?

      September 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Athy

      Abinadi can only blow bible babble out of his ass at us. Typical cross clutcher response.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • The Mockingjay

      Wow, Damocles, you are so clever!

      September 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • The Mockingjay

      Oh, athy, you have such a fine vocabulary!

      September 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Athy

      Thank you.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      @abinadi: sorry, we now only have time to refute the delusions of serious religions. Since Mormonism is on par with Scientology as the laughing stocks of religion, we just can't take the time to bother with you anymore. Come back when your insanity has at least reached the clarity of the more level-headed cults.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Damocles


      Overreact much?

      September 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • No-one-to-vote-for

      Book of Mormon is NOT given to mankind by the God of the Bible!

      September 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Athy

      How could it be? There is no god of the bible. In fact, there is no god of anything.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • No-one-to-vote-for

      @ athy
      You'll be surprised!

      September 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, right.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • No-one-to-vote-for

      Yep, and you can be sure of that! You've just been deceived into thinking there isn't any God. But you'll see!

      September 16, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Just wait until your father gets home!"

      *yawn* Proxy threats are about as effective as a screen door in a submarine.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • No-one-to-vote-for

      Who is threatening? You must be paranoid to be thinking that simple exchange of thoughts /words is threatening. Is it because y o u fear, Tom,Tom?

      September 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  8. DP

    Another deceptive tactics by rich GOP dudes – use God, religion as a pretext to fool the American public!

    September 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  9. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Only by Christianity absurdity of a Christian, Hindu and pagan. Filthy Christian Captain Crunch dog. Filthy pagan Hindu pig dog. Filthy Randy Jackson dog. Filthy hebrew national beef dog. Filthy Ron Jeremy foot-long dog. NO DOGS! Who let them be out? Quran means nothing else but path of triple abdullah absolute quantified. please visit ahmadinebinpaid.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file. But turn virus protection off before.

    September 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  10. jeffro

    The follower of joseph smith is really roping in the followers of Jesus. Are they all wolves in sheep's clothing? It's beginning to look like it since "believers" who for years have called mormons members of a cult are now lining up behind a mormon. Most evangelicals are such hypocrites.

    September 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      " Are they all wolves in sheep's clothing?"

      Or are they sheep in lemmings' clothing?

      September 16, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  11. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Crucifixion is FICTION. Handy work of pagan kafeer's, filthy self centered to fool humanity.

    September 16, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  12. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Islam is hinduism, religion but Three, Tres, Tran Allah, consti tution of America, truth absolute and foundation of every consti tution on earth.

    September 16, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  13. Jack

    And yet, less than two months before Election Day, he turned to two prominent American talk shows, “Meet the Press” on NBC and “State of the Union” on CNN, to make his case even more urgently to a broader American audience, arguing that Iran was six months away from having “90 percent” of what it needed to make an atomic bomb.

    “You know, they’re in the last 20 yards, and you can’t let them cross that goal line,” Mr. Netanyahu said on “Meet the Press,” displaying his familiarity with American football, another Sunday ritual here. “You can’t let them score a touchdown, because that would have unbelievable consequences, grievous consequences for the peace and security of us all, of the world really.”

    Obama is leading us all down a path!!!

    September 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  14. Moby Schtick

    Does the t!tle of this article make sense to anybody? Romney ratchets UPS...?

    September 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      LMAO. I missed that. UPS evidently has a god. Well, I suppose it could be code for "brown". But I've seen some pretty poor spelling and grammar in their tag lines and t!tles, so it must just be that.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  15. Peter Wolfe

    Hey, enough with the whole praying away thing that has been proven to be a hoax and a con job like Mother Cleo's Tarot Cards. If you have nothing to say with any substance, you might as well shut up your mouth just wasting your time and ours. Some of us want to see lively debate and want to learn what opposing views say even though they are wrong and we are right!

    September 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • hippy

      Then pray yourself away!

      September 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • GOD spoke to me.

      And asked me to tell you to stop SPAMMIMG with this nonsense.

      September 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL, DUDE".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Islam is healthy for other living things, religion of Thin Allah, consti tution of America, truth absolute and foundation of every consti tution on earth, heaven, and beyond.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  17. hippy

    Mormons are the most selfish people on the earth. They take everything they can get (look up the law of consecration) and they give nothing, though they LOVE to tell everyone that they contribute to charities, you NEVER hear of anyone saying, "hey, the Mormon church really helped me and my family out" unless it's a Mormon...of course.
    Mormons SUCK!

    September 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Mockingjay

      So, are you sore that you didn't get your fair share?

      September 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  18. Peter Wolfe

    Dear Hippy, I don't know how to reply on here using a screen reader, so I want to reply to your message on Obama's Pelosi's, Kerry's, al of the dem/libs personal wealth and how that differs on our the significance. First off that Pelosi and Kerry aren't going for president or not spouting morals and God's name in every other sentence not right now anyways. President Obama is barely even a millionaire compared to 200 millions that Romney possess in his investments in tax havens and shelters abroad and not releasing his tax forms. Moreover, President Obama like me didn't have a stable father figure in his life and that is something I relate to unlike Mitt Romney. Neither one of them can 90% of us can relate to completely because they came from Money but I relate to Obama than Romney. A laste note that I appreciate a true authentic American business owner to reinvest like 50
    % of his profits back into the economy not something Mittenns will do for sure.

    September 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  19. hippy

    I'm paid by Fox News and the Mormon church to get on here and start a fire under people's feet so that the contention will lead to anarchy. You know Fox News doesn't allow anyone to comment on their online site. They don't believe in free speech, but neither do the Mormons.

    September 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • The Mockingjay

      My, my, hippie. You seem to know so much about the Mormon church. How did you get so smart?

      September 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  20. Peter Wolfe

    Dear Hippy: You talk about pandering of President Obama but what do you think will happen with defense contracters? I've worked at an Army installation and you would be surprised of the waste, fraud, and give-aways that they get via republican politicians. For example, many civilian and noncivilian workers pick their own hours, fudget records and talk about classified information around an inern like me! If you think Mr Romney will save you in tax dollars just think again with his Winter 2002 Olympics that Mr Romney had tons of price overuns in the numbers of millions. Mr Romney is a joke like other conservatives like Reagan, George Bush (read my lips), Richard Nixon (I'm not a crook) and Bush Jr (Weapons of mass destructions) and tons of deficits as you recall that all of thtier supposed rebounds economically speaking were deficit subsedized.

    September 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
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About this blog

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.