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Romney meets with evangelist Billy Graham
Billy Graham has counseled presidents going back to Harry Truman.
October 11th, 2012
04:44 PM ET

Romney meets with evangelist Billy Graham

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney met with evangelical icon Billy Graham for the first time on Thursday at the evangelist’s remote mountaintop home in North Carolina.

Romney traveled to Graham’s residence in Montreat, just outside Asheville, to meet with Graham and his son Franklin Graham, a high-profile pastor in his own right.

Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Romney met with the Grahams for approximately 30 minutes and that they discussed religious freedom, religious persecution and growth of the Grahams’ ministry in China, Sudan and North Korea.

Towards the end of the meeting, according to Gorka, Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

"What impresses me even more than Governor Romney's successful career are his values and strong moral convictions. I appreciate his faithful commitment to his impressive family, particularly his wife Ann of 43 years and his five married sons," Billy Graham said in a statement through a spokesman following the meeting.

"It was a privilege to pray with Governor Romney—for his family and our country. I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms," the evangelist's statement continued.

Graham, 93, has provided counsel to generations of U.S. presidents beginning with Harry S. Truman, and is the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Staging revivals that he called “crusades” around the world, Graham has reached untold millions of people in person with his message.

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In the United States, his power and reach have transcended partisan politics. He has counseled presidents from both parties and met with President Barack Obama in 2010. Graham was hospitalized for treatment of a pulmonary infection earlier this year.

Romney first met with Franklin Graham, founder of the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, in 2007, when the Mormon White House hopeful was getting know many national evangelical leaders for the first time.

The elder Graham began his missionary work in 1944 when he started speaking at rallies for the Youth for Christ Campus Life ministry. Five years later, Graham was holding crusades in tents in downtown Los Angeles.

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Originally scheduled for three weeks, the crusades drew so many followers they were extended to seven.

His "last crusade" in June 2005 drew 230,000 people.

More recently, Billy Graham has weighed in on hot-button issues, including supporting North Carolina's constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which voters passed earlier this year. This summer, Graham defended the president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain for his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Graham has been in and out of local hospitals this year, battling respiratory issues. The pool reporter following Romney added in their report from the meeting, "Billy Graham's voice sounded somewhat weak but he did not look any more frail than his age would suggest."

CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (518 Responses)
  1. CNN = Creating Non-News

    A conversation between a manikin and a corpse: must be a slow news day.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Ternimator

      Laundry day. Nothing clean.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • True Arnold Schwarzenegger quote

      "I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman."

      October 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Peter

      "I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married" – Obama

      October 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Always amazed.

      Uh, Peter, you really need to clue in a bit. You see, Obama's statement makes sense, and Arnie's doesn't.

      October 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  2. Reality

    Graham and his son should first apologize for ripping off their "non-profits" with their combined salaries of $1.2 million/yr.

    And they have the audacity to call themselves Christians !!!!!

    October 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • mountevans

      Is it against God's law or any law for that matter for a Christian to be wealthy or well-off? If so, that's news to me! Preachers & teachers of the bible deserve to be well-paid for the work they do, IMO.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      They seem like regular Christians to me. Textbook in fact.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Margaret J

      Yeah, what's wrong with greedy unprincipled Christians who hate happiness and intelligence and who can't think rationally?
      Hmm.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Ternimator

      I would like a plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      Margaret, what say you and I go have a little drinky-poo? I know where there is a good German Sparkle Party tonight!

      October 11, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  3. DL

    Even when I was five years old I sensed Billy Graham was yet another fame-seeking and money-making charleton. Why are so many so weak-minded? I don't need an answer, I am simply thinking out loud.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  4. Glen Cioca

    the great Jew hater is going to teach Romney

    October 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Glen Cioca

      any man who builds a great monument for himself so everybody can praise him is not a man of faith.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  5. Yashus

    Billy and all the preachers are doing it for the money that's all.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Meatwad

      Well maybe I should become a preacher then, cuz I ain't got no damn money. I want to by a new doll.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      My children I beg of thee, let your wallets and pocket books stand naked in the Glory of God!

      Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen

      Your generosity does God's work.

      Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen

      October 11, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  6. Anon

    Too bad these religious crazies do a lot of collateral brain-damage before croaking.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  7. Dances with Mormons

    Wind in His Hair confronts Joseph Smith after he is spotted by his scouts,

    "I am Wind In His Hair! I am Wind In His Hair! Do you see that I am not afraid of you!? Do you see!?"

    Thinking quickly, the chief of the tribe decides to, "smoke a while".

    It was at this point that Joseph Smith arrived in camp with a "White Man's" hat and some magic golden plates! He was immediately wounded by an arrow and the Medicine Man was summoned to the teepee.

    Many moons passed while Joseph Smith recovered from his injuries, during which time he spaketh the Mormon Gospel to Chief Ten Bears and a great friendship was forged between them. At length, it was time for Joseph Smith to head westward. As he waved goodbye to his new Lakota Indian friends, a voice could be heard on the wind….

    "Joseph Smith! ... Joseph Smith! ... I am Wind In His Hair! ... Do you see that I am your friend!? ... Can you see that you will always be my friend!?

    October 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

    • I have smoked Joseph Smith and found him to be bitter and harsh. Mormons are kickass bad medicine.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  8. Where is your God now?

    A 17 month old boy who had cooking oil, heated in a frying pan, poured on his genitals as well as beaten to the point of sustaining spinal injuries is recovering, but the extent of his injuries and whether or not he’ll be able to walk again have not yet been reported.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  9. Where is your God now?

    Many argue that, if science has not found an answer to a phenomenon, then God did it.

    Therefore before we understood lightning, God did it. Likewise for rain, tides, earthquakes, etc.

    Using this logic, every time we explain something we did not previously understand, a piece of God is eliminated.

    Therefore, God will necessarily be disproven over time.

    Therefore, there is no God.

    The law of a diminishing God.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Answer

      Their need and want for a god is always ridiculous.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  10. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    "In the United States, his power and reach have transcended partisan politics. He has counseled presidents from both parties and met with President Barack Obama in 2010."

    I thought 'transcended party politics' was pretty funny.

    I suspect that several of the Presidents who were "counseled" by Billy Graham wanted him mostly for the photo op to impress votes from his many evangelical followers. Presidential candidates included here too, and yes, I am talking about Mittens.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  11. Where is your God now?

    Your husband takes you to the company Christmas party. You have long been jealous of his very attractive co-worker Genevieve, and your jealous imagination suspects there is a spark between them. You dress to the nines and look great. The moment comes to say hello to her. She is beautiful, charming and smells intoxicating. You break a heal just as you reach to shake her hand. You spill your drink on both Genevieve and your husband. They look at each other and giggle, holding the gaze a bit too long.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      You are at a friend’s house. It is a party with a few friends and a girl you are interested in getting to know better. You have to go to the restroom, which is visible from the kitchen where everyone is gathered. You go in and do number 2. You have diarrhea. It smells bad and there is no air freshener. You reach for the toilet paper and there is none. There is a knock on the door, you recognize her sweet voice.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      You are at the Museum of Modern Art with a date. You have high hopes for this relationship. She is smart, pretty and a great cook. You just critiqued a group of Kevin Appel paintings when you felt a sudden urge to relieve your bowels. But where is the bathroom? Too late. And it is loose. You drag your smelly self to the elevator; she is behind you but gagging...

      October 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      You are at a German “sparkle party”. You are wearing your party pants. You are ready to dancy dance. It is a hard-core German sparkle party and you are wearing your rubber boots. The music is pulsating and it feels good to dance. You notice a familiar face standing at the bar. You dance over to her as fancy as you please in your polished rubber boots. You bend low to smell her perfume and say hello. It is your father.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      You wake up feeling amazing with Marie next to you. She finally spent the night. You can make out the curve of her buttocks beneath the thin sheet. Your groin reacts and you press against her, fitting neatly in the begging crevice. She smells like flowers and honey. You throb with anticipation and she moans in anticipation. You reach for a condom, but realize to your dismay that your dog is busy chewing and has something stuck in his teeth…

      October 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Ternimator

      Give me your clothes and your motorcycle.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      @Ternimator

      Did you bring your party pants?

      October 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  12. Jesus was a Liar. Joseph Smith was a Liar.

    true story.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Meatwad

      Carl lied to me when he said he didn't have no hotdogs, but he did have some.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Joseph Smith to Jesus: "My lies were all about you. If you were a liar what does that make me?"

      October 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • The Truth

      Joseph Smith was not so much a liar as he was a swindler who used lies to get what he wanted.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      Truth, you forgot to use your logic checker.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Joseph Smith was such a stupendous liar that he even convinced himself it was true. Self-hypnosis run wild.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  13. M W Horst

    Lock yourself in your closet to pray, and what you do in secret, God will see.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Mormons have the same coloration as Southern Baptists. This is Müllerian mimicry, evidence of evolution. I hadn't noticed that before.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TTTOO,

      you have to consider where they come from. Mormonism started in the same time and place as several American evangelical traditions like Pentecostal movements.

      In the 1820s the second great awakening takes place. One derivative of this movement in Western NY is Mormonism. The whole area was called the "burned over district" because of the relentlessness of the revival preaching that went on there. All kinds of holy roller mutations occured at this time.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burned-over_district

      October 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Answer

      As you can see – nowadays new religions won't ever be formed.. because technology and the camera (spotlight) will shine the light on such new forms of crazy!

      October 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  15. Now there is a conversation worth watching the Gong Show instead.

    Romney: "My invisible friend is better than your invisible friend. You made your up, but mine is real!"

    Graham: "I beg to differ. My invisible friend is obviously the true invisible friend. Yours is false."

    Romney: "Is not!"

    Graham: "Is too!"

    Romney: "Is not!!!"

    Graham: "Is too!!!!!!"

    Romney: "Admit Moron is real, uh, Moroni, or I will hold my breath until I pass out and die!"

    Graham: "Promise?"

    October 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      No, no, no. Nothing like that at all.

      This was more than likely a financial transaction. I wonder how much one of Mitt's Super PACs had to donate to Franklin's latest crusade fund to get their quote.

      "Billy Graham led a prayer* for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

      * "Thank you Jesus for leading Mitt here to Montreat and for his generous donation to Franklin's crusade."

      Mitt went all the way to Ashville and spent 30 minutes with Billy.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What a suck-up.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  16. Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Union of hindu sanatans, ignorant shaman's, result? you scratch my back, I scratch your back, hell with truth absolute GOD, way of hindu Jew's criminal self centered and their hindu gentile's, ignorant slaves. for more visit limitisthetruth.com.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • skmind

      Is hindu atheism better than Christian atheism?

      October 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Pickle juice is just another name for cuc.u.mber pickle-ism, dill weed ism, sour tart of back yard garden, old cuc.u.mbers with another pickled lid mason jar, feed humanity based on how many jars-ism of pri.ckly beef steak ism 180 tomatoes, okra, tomatoes too absolute american dill pickles in support of American bar food ism.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  17. jo

    I have great respect for Billy Graham but I don't know how he and the Republicans now seem to think Mormonism is Christianity. It's a cult.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      What ever is good for business, is good for their god, hindu Jew, criminal self centered, denier of truth absolute.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Jariv

      What a Moron you are ! People talk and think that everything in the internet is true. What a waste of brain power.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • skmind

      Actually so is Christianity. A large cult.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Why do you respect him? Caught the magic?

      October 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  18. James L.

    After Romney lied 27 times in 38 minutes during a civic debate for the presidency, I wonder if they had a serious discussion about "thou shalt not bear false wittiness"?.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  19. rene

    I'm hurt and so disgusted that our beloved Billy Graham who has been a staunch man of GOD would sell out to a cult and really for what?! Has this good man so lost his way since the death of his wife in 2007 that he cannot see what he is really doing and saying to the entire world by this action? He has my deep sympathy and prayers.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Margaret J

      Your "deep sympathy and prayers" do nothing at all. These guys have millions of dollars gouged from hard-working people.
      They lie and swindle the money right out of your pocket. How much have you given them? Be honest, now.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  20. Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

    Interesting majority of Christians view Mormonism as a cult. Yet they sell out to fight against the black Christian in office. To see Christians embracing Mitt in the name of Christ is quite revealing.

    October 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Thor

      It's worse than a cult.

      Mormonism preaches that black skin is a curse, and that those with black skin will be white in the afterlife.

      Disgusting.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      I am amazed at the self impsoed ignorance of Mormons. It doesnt take a person very long to see how their Bonus Book of the bible lacks integrity. Dont have to go far past the founder to see it is all BS. When I known con-artist and criminal is the creator of yoru religion...kind of throws HUGE red flags....then his closest followers/ friends rejected him. lol

      When a Mormon is faced with this hard reality..they resort to....but the religion teaches good family values. Must be a trained response. lol

      October 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • DL

      Like the KKK or any other group who is seduced by the power of suggestion, as well a the group leader. They are indoctrinated, also know as brainwashing, which they are highly offended to hear as it reflects their weak minds back to them. It is disgusting, and mostly tragic, that humankind cannot evolve due to the mindset of these folks.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:17 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.