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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. lol lalllalalalallaa

    is this a joke...???????? Is this really a joke. All the faith, all the faces of religions, all the guides, all the energy seems to be lost. What happened to love your neighbor as you want to be love or treated. that is no muscles, it's and positive arguably good position to be in. A man's that is not a prophet can not put down law that are questionable, he is just a man, therefor just living his time period. He may add substance but no essence therefore his laws come from his own. I do not accept the big lie that both candidates are playing and manipulating. Why can't Obama call Romney on his taxes?
    Why is Romney avoiding showing them. That to me is the answer but again the game they are playing feels more like a Chess game. Long live the Queen. I think that we are are under the same spell, the spell that bound us all

    October 12, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • Huh?

      I see Google Translator still doesn't work very well.

      Or Jack Daniels worked a little too well.

      October 12, 2012 at 3:27 am |
  2. montyross

    the best revenge is a long life...

    October 12, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  3. Joe Smith's #4 Wife

    Does Billy still consider Mormonism a pagan cult?

    October 12, 2012 at 2:37 am |
  4. Brian

    Will Romney meet with evangelist Jimmy Swaggart?

    October 12, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • End Religion

      only if it's a darkened room in a seedy motel, and Swaggert needs to leave a $100 bill on the dresser when he leaves.

      October 12, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  5. sally

    That man's not alive. Anyone can prop up their favorite old dead famous preacher in a chair. Well, I suppose it could be wax.

    October 12, 2012 at 1:59 am |
  6. I'M jJUST SAYING TOO....

    HE SHOULD HAVE TAKEN RYAN WITH HIM!!! We all need JESUS, but they give needing JESUS a whole new meaning!! Ryan is the poster child for bearing false witness!! Maybe BG will impart some good old fashioned wisdom and HONESTY into Mr. Romney and he can share some of it with his little playmate on the way to check on his "OUT OF THIS COUNTRY" interest bearing accounts! Good job Vice President Biden, we all heard you loud and clear! i am sure President Obama is proud of you and we are proud of you BOTH!!!

    October 12, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  7. jo an

    If any of you are approached by your local church to contribute to Operation Christmas Child...where put items in a shoe box and they send it to children around the world....Well they don't tell you that they insert FRANKLIN GRAHAM's religious views into the boxes...which states that anyone who is not 'SAVED' will go to hell...these boxes go to Muslim Countries...and to countries that are not Christian...Then 'Missionaries' give the boxes and follow them to convert the child!! Dirty trick...I think so...I see lots of Main line Churches and even military communities participating...under the name of Samaritian Purse....a Graham Enterprise which gives big bucks to Franklin Greene....

    October 12, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  8. Bev

    When did Billy Graham start supporting the Mormon views? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have always been viewed as cults. Since when are they an accepted as Christian Religion? For what President Obama went through with Pastor Wright, I am appalled that nothing has been said about what Mormons believe.

    October 12, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Kev

      Actually, there doesn't seem to be any support or endorsement of the LDS church but rather support of Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney's views, at least his political views. When it comes to Mitt Romney's political views, not all Latter-Day-Saints agree completely with Mitt Romney.

      October 12, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Debbie

      @Kev You cannot have one without the other. Obama was called a muslim among other things even though he is a christian. he was condemed because of that by christians such as and by Billy Graham who called him a Muslim and condemned him for that. Mitt is a Mormon and Billy Graham has been known to speak against the Mormon church.Calling it a cult. So there is a double standard and hippocracy here. Billy Graham said that he like that Romney was married to the same wife and that his sons were all married as reasons he liked Romney. There are no political views here.President Obama has the same moral values and lives a christian life explain that but no Graham endorsement. Really his endorsement does not mean much.I am a Christian and I am voting for a CHristian president Obama period.

      October 12, 2012 at 3:08 am |
  9. tj mars

    Graham must be a hypocrite. Who has taken the religious freedom from people? If he is trying to talk about Obama, Obama has not done nothing about taking religious freedom. He only protect human freedom. Do not impose your belief on others because you believe what you believe. Pathetic!

    October 12, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Of course he is a hypocrite – all "religious leaders" are hypocrites!

      October 12, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  10. Genia

    I contacted his organization about Terri Shiavo-the poor disabled woman that was starved to death. I guess she wasn't important enough.Even though his organization does some good works, I don't have much use for an organization who won't support those who cannot defend themselves.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  11. Bram Stoker

    Popeferatu Ratz, Billy "Poltergeist" Graham . . . how do they keep finding these vampire-looking old creeps to worship? How do they keep them from exploding into flames when sunlight gets on them?

    October 12, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • End Religion

      welcome to my home...
      http://youtu.be/y4dhj3So0SA

      October 12, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • old ben

      LMAO at the video references.

      October 12, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  12. Rogue351

    Who cares what this old religious nut job has to say. Graham made millions telling people they would be saved if they donated money to his church. This is the worst kind of lier. I find it sickening that Romney or anyone with any integrity what so ever would even talk to this guy. But I guess Romney is ok with it since the Mormons do exactly the same thing. Oh the ideals of the rich, basically you make as much as you can NO Matter What or who you hurt in the process. Morals go out the window. Graham should be in jail paying back every cent along side every other pastor, preacher who has made big money selling nothing and preying on the nieve nature of people.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • montyross

      only every president since truman so it leads me to believe that youre the dev..er troll

      October 12, 2012 at 2:44 am |
  13. John

    Don't you have a gay parade to get ready for?

    October 12, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • End Religion

      homophobes likely closeted gays: http://tinyurl.com/8493xgz

      October 12, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  14. E-Man

    Oh Billy, Billy, Billy barou....... Are you really going to exit pandering to a false doctrine?

    October 12, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • John

      You must have missed the part about morality and biblical marriage.The only one pandering is Obama to sodomites

      October 12, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Rogue351

      John if you could see the bible for what it really is. A way for the people who use it to control others who believe it. Nothing more. You have bough into the wrong side. Explain what good Graham has done ? He has more money than he can count and those that gave to him have less and nothing to show for it, nothing. Graham was a scam artist, stealing from people looking for guidance and help. And you can sit there and say that is ok because he has a bible in his hand ? That is in no way moral. No matter how you look at it. Forcing religion on people like Ryan and Romney will most certainly do is not moral either. Having no religion is more Moral that a forced religion. Romney talk about freedom but who is free if they can choose to believe what they want and be treated equally by law. Laws religious people shoot down all the time. Religion is not on the side of freedom yet you and people like you think it is. Religion controls you and guides you to make choices they feel are right . Well wakes up, because actively working against large groups of people as an organized religion is not moral. It is right down wrong when a Christian protests a fallen soldiers funeral because of gay people. That is not moral no matter how you look at it. Religion should be private, between you are your god. Money should not be made from it and only good done from it. Religion is not judge and jury. And church and state should be separated. Wake Up !!

      October 12, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • End Religion

      John, there are no mites in soda: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soda

      October 12, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • sam stone

      john: you can tell us, is that closet a bit too restrictive for you?

      October 12, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  15. Billsf

    Billy Graham to Mitt Romney-" I will support you in spreading your message of hate and intolerance! Screw the poor!"

    October 12, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • bullet1

      Billy Graham is nothing but a very rich charlatan. He was caught on one of the Nixon tapes agreeing with "tricky dick" that something had to be done about getting rid of the jews ala Adolph Hitler. When his words were exposed, he apologised to the prime minister of Israel, but it was too little, too late. He also said he would never endorse a Presidential candidate until a black man came along. He has said on national television that Mother Theresa could never go to heaven but a convicted, cold-blooded murderer who said he had found Jesus in prison could. He lives on his own mountain in a section of the country that was forced to integrate it's schools under federal law. It would be interesting to see his and his son's tax returns on all the tax free money they have screwed the poor,ignorant people out of over the years.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • End Religion

      http://youtu.be/rYqF_BtIwAU

      October 12, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • montyross

      yet he would not preach his crusades if the audiences were segregated in the south, tell the truth shame the devil, William

      October 12, 2012 at 2:52 am |
  16. BOjang

    crawl into your casket already... paaaaalease!!

    October 12, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • gorb

      which one?

      October 12, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • zip

      I thought BG died and went to hell with jerry falwell

      October 12, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • John

      Tell me why anyone in America would want to hear from a spiritually and morally person like you?

      October 12, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Billsf

      hilarious!

      October 12, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • sam stone

      john: you know nothing about us. you are a pompous jesus sucking c word

      October 12, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  17. noillusion

    Oh my, two frauds yapping. Definitely not, the sound of one hand clapping.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  18. Fritz Hohenheim

    Graham is a dangerous man who has been influencing American politics for the worse for the past 40 years behind the throne.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • John

      What you mean to say is dangerous to the Devil,your father

      October 12, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • End Religion

      john, did you get into mommy and daddy's liquor cabinet again?

      October 12, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  19. Brian

    Yes, Graham has "counceled" presidents alright. In Nixon's notorious tapes Graham was recorded making anti-Semitic remarks.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  20. WachetAuf

    Billy Graham once admitted that he had made a mistake in supporting the Vietnam War. I thought that he had finally learned that he had been misused by Nixon, the biggest crook who ever held the office. Billy, you are doing it again. You have failed to understand the most simple of concepts about Jesus' teaching: Jesus was not a member of the herd. Jesus invited us to separate ourselves from the herd and go directly to the source of all understanding and wisdom. And for that Jesus was murdered by the herd. Billy, your primitive Darwinian instincts have blinded you once again. Ask yourself, Billy. Are you preparing the way for the anti-christ? Is it because Mr. Romney promises to bring Armaggeddon to the Middle East more quickly? Have you heard Mr. Romney's threats against Iran? Are you aware that Mr. Romney wears magic underwear and believes in angels and spirits which are no part of Jesus' message?

    October 12, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • bullet1

      Billy Graham doesn't care about the poor or down trodden like Jesus asked his followers to do. Billy Graham and his son have made millions off of people so poor they sent him money they needed for flour and meal thinking he could guide them straight through the pearly gates. He will burn in hell for his evil doings and good riddance. I hope he meets Swaggart, Robertson, Osteen, Oral Roberts and his son, Jim Bakker, and all the other crooked "preachers" on the way to the deepest parts of hades.

      October 12, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • End Religion

      i love Love LOVE seeing all the nutters gather around and wag their fingers at each other for not knowing the one True way. It always reminds me of Dr. Suess' Sneetches all believing the numbers of stars on their bellies proved he was better than anyone else. Meanwhile it was the dude putting the stars on their bellies who drove off with all their cash while they stood around arguing. Awesome!

      October 12, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • End Religion

      http://youtu.be/fY_15OgTU5Y

      October 12, 2012 at 1:26 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.