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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. Evelyn Connaway

    Romney meets another rich man and his son. Billy Graham and Franklin Graham got rich of religion! Romney got rich off religion and other people also.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  2. mochica

    Imagine if the Pope had endorsed Sarkozy. Throughout history the powerful in the Church (whether Catholic or Protestant) have always sided with the warrior class and the aristocracy. The Pope was frequently from a powerful family like the De Medici, but that should not turn anyone off to God and the people that do good works in His name. The Church supported the Inquisition and the Conquest of the Americas, but many Franciscan and Jesuit priests risked their lives defending and standing up for indigenous rights.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • b4bigbang

      I agree about the Italian connection.
      And speaking of things Italian, I'll have a mochica with double short pull and whipped cream on top please.....

      October 12, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  3. Ed

    All the people, who have written negative comments on this artlicle about Billy Graham giving his support to our next president are hypocrites, who loved Billy Graham when he supported obama 4 years ago.

    But honest people are open to all, and treat none with prejudice. It is what that person then does, and thinks that turns you away from their friendship.

    I'm sure Billy Graham would have endorsed Obama if he thought he was the better choice for President. It would have been a lot easier for him, since he has been a lifelong member of the democratic party.

    Obviously Obama did not live up to Billy Graham's expectations.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • mochica

      I only remember him traveling with Richard Nixon because he was afraid of having a Catholic president. I also remember the photo of George W. Bush kneeling before him. Lifelong Democrat? Do you mean Dixiecrat? In the South, it is not quite the same.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      I have NEVER loved Graham, nor his son whom I find to be a hypocrite of the highest order. Both of them think that they are the only preachers in the US, and everything they say is directly from the mouth of god.. NOT!

      October 12, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  4. debbie fields

    Romney has visited Billy Graham and he visited Israel....obama waited til his last year in office to visit Graham and has NEVER been to Israel!! he bowed to a saudi king but refused to bow to the queen.... He wears a ring since college days that says allah is the one and only god in arabic.....obama is the biggest threat to this country since 9-11-01

    October 12, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • midwest rail

      Absurd hyperbole.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Woiw, been in the conspiracy sect long????

      October 12, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • mochica

      You are insane.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • End Religion

      debbie, i must speak with you. Fear not, only you can Read this post. I have shrouded it from the other ignorant swine on this blog.

      It is clear you have taken great pains to see through the Veil of Darkness surrounding "reality." You see the Truth. Do not despair at the laughter, they are the lowest of the low, mere worms under the boot of He Who Possesses All Knowledge.

      Seek ye the Golden Square of Philalethes neath Obama's desk in his Satanic Oval office. Do you see the lie? Nothing Sacred can be oval. Only the Square holds Truth. Find the lie. I will contact you again when the Time has come. You will deliver a full Report on your findings.

      Remember, the Grand Antient is watching.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  5. debbie fields

    Biden reminded me of a loud mouthed used car salesman trying to sell a lemon!!

    October 12, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      And Ryan looked like a sniveling punk, who lied, whinned, and the lied some more.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  6. omar kamsn

    If ever there was any doubt that the ChristIan is rooted in bigotry; this meeting put that doubt to rest; a ChristIan preacher endorsing a member of a cult over a true christIan simply because of Obama's race-black! what a dirty shame!

    October 12, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • debbie fields

      He wears a ring since college days that says allah is the one and only god in arabic.....obama is the biggest threat to this country since 9-11-01 and Dr Graham talked to him!! Jesus talked to all men and women....Your heatheness is showing sir!!

      October 12, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • sam stone

      as is your subservience, debbie. spend a lot of time on your knees, do you?

      October 12, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  7. TruthSeeker

    Unbelievable!!! My mothers Justin Bieber siting down with a SLUG. Sorry. A non accepting person is a SLUG to me. Glad I could NEVER buy off my family with a bunch of CORPORATE ( you get that people ???) HOOEY!

    October 12, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  8. thecollegeadmissionsguru

    I saw Billy Graham at the University of South Carolina when I was a teen, his service was moving, but I was already an atheist, so I didn't get much out of it. I went because my Mom wanted me to go, and there was this girl from church.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  9. Bman

    My my my, So Romney went to see old Billy Graham Wasn't he the red necked priest that had an affair while doing oxycontin and trying to get back together with his wife? It's hard to keep them all straight, but that's what I remember.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • debbie fields

      Well now we know why you support obama dementia!!!! and grandios delusions...

      October 12, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  10. End Religion

    Graham did a little song and dance for Romney during their meeting...

    http://youtu.be/GTSxQi1I8mI

    October 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  11. Bootyfunk

    billy graham is the creepy old uncle that the rest of the family don't leave the kids alone with.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  12. Christiana Chineme

    This man should stay clear of politics before he destroys whatever reputaion he has left. Give Ceasar what is Ceasar's and God God's. You don't convert people through peolitics nor can you legislate good behavior (morality). Preach to people preferably through your character and not try to control them through politics. I guess it's easier that the law should do what we are suppose to do.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  13. NYNJCT

    I've respected a faithful faith journey of Billy Graham.
    GO ROMNEY/RYAN

    October 11, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      you know, i think you actually had all the components of a sentence in there, and the components were in the right places, but it still just didn't make any sense to me. People tell me I "just don't get" the bible because I am not a believer. Maybe the same magic surrounds your post.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  14. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    These guys are no different than any other so-called religious leader – merely delusional lying charlatans peddling crap not much different than astrology.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  15. colin

    How does one support the biblical definition of marriage AND religious freedom? My religion supports everybody's right to be happily married or miserably divorced. The biblical definition therefore encroached on MY religious freedom.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • oun

      I thought many in the Bible had multiple wives anyhow.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Bman

      @oun and don't forget in the book of mormon. That is a key element for a true cult, a mechanism for the leader to get all the women.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  16. oceanfire

    There should be separation between government and religion. Like Jesus told us ceasar things to caesar and God things to God.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • End Religion

      god also told you to kill people who work on Sunday. Sometimes you just have to grow up and realize it's all superstitious medieval bullshit.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  17. matt

    billy; JUST DIE WILL YOU!!!

    October 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • kotchi

      Well at least he didn't say bay beh or foul deaf spirits..COME OUT !!!!! LMAO. Dear evangelists..I truly hope there is a God because when you get there he's gonna want his share .........................................

      October 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Bob Jackson

      Matt, the death of Billy Graham would be a tremendous loss to the world. However, your death would be similiar to stepping on a cochroach! You're a total waste! Proof that humans can exist without a brain!

      October 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • NYNJCT

      Your extream comment makes me shiver because you'll be called before Billy Graham reunited with God and his late wife, Ruth.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  18. Sean

    Graham is thinking to himself, am I really supporting a Mormon rather then the Christian Black man?

    October 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      it is amazing that the hatred of racism runs even deeper than the fear of denying their god's word. I suppose it's just one more bit of proof that religious people do not actually believe in a god and are all atheists inside.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  19. Massachusetts Resident

    Hey Mitt! Did ya tell 'em 'bout Planet Kobol and how you would be God one day?? I bet Billy jus' love to hear all 'bout thaaaat!!!!

    October 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Sean

      Planet Kolob! Get the right planet, because God's sitting there on his throne!

      October 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  20. John Kitchen

    Very sad to read the hateful comments about men of faith. This appears to be a shameless attempt by Gov Romney to reach the conservative religious right (CRR) and suck in a few more votes. There has long been a division between Mormons and the CRR, but, despite the likes of Graham himself and Rick Warren affirming Pres Obama's Christian faith, the CRR seem to be committed to serving mammon rather than God. No wonder 'In God We Trust' is written on the money in this country – their money seems more important to the CRR than the God.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Massachusetts Resident

      Give it a rest! It was only in very recent times that, because of "political correctness", that christians – for the most part – stopped referring to the LDS 'church' as a cult!! And, given their bizzare and completely contradictory 'christian' beliefs why is it wrong for a presidential candidate to be judged for holding such outlandish and ridiculous beliefs?? The man actually believes he'll one day be God! Just like "God"!! And that's just the tip-of-the-iceberg when it comes to just how strange and alien the LDS 'church' is!!
      LMBO!! Billy Graham should've told him on camera and to his face that he was a heretic and then had him bodily thrown out of his home!!

      October 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • NYNJCT

      Have you ever heard or watched that Obama has ever confessed "I am Christian or believe in Jesus... etc" with his own mouth at public? I really wished that Obama could be Christian. However, Obama admits that he is a Muslim at Cairo, Egypt. Obama bowing before a Muslim king, talking about his Muslim family, quoting from the Koran, defending Islam and visiting a Mosque .... and so on.
      GO TO YOUTUBE, CLICK "Obama admits that he is a Muslim ".

      October 12, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @NYN give it a REST!! Seriously, the President is really an atheist, who uses Christianity for political purposes. He is NOT muslim, and what if he were??? There is NO religious test to be President of the US...

      October 12, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • I Don't Get It

      NYN,
      " I really wished that Obama could be Christian."

      You used to wish that, but you don't wish it anymore?

      I really wish that people would quit speaking hick-English.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:21 am |
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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.