November 21st, 2007
01:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney: My campaign had nothing to do with anti-Mormon calls

Romney says he has no idea who was behind phone calls in New Hampshire

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - "You've got to be kidding" was GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's incredulous response.

The question: Is he confident that no one associated with his campaign was involved in so-called push-polling?

The practice is a political attack disguised as legitimate polling. Callers portray themselves as nonpartisan members of a polling organization, then provide negative or misleading information about a candidate in an effort to discourage voting for that person.

Romney appeared taken aback because the phone calls - reported in early presidential contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire - cast aspersions on him and his Mormon faith.

The calls also raised questions about deferments he received during the Vietnam War because he was doing missionary work in France.

Full story

Filed under: Faith • Iowa • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • South Carolina
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. I. Dern (Fairfax, Va)

    That was my first thought.
    No other campaign is dumb enough to do this.

    But Mitt "Moneybags" Romney may be savvy enough to try and court the sympathy vote.

    I'm interested to hear the outcome of all this.

    November 21, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Jack, Fort Myers, Fl

    I don't blame him for acting shocked! This is probably the most insane comment I've read during these primaries...well, if you exclude: Chuck Norris and the wrestler finding it imperative in their lives to endorse Huckleberry.

    November 21, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Robert, Deming, New Mexico

    Since Romney is a Latter Day Saint, I would say that He is more Religious than most of the candidates, Because he holds the Priesthood that was bestowed upon him. This alone makes him a righteous man. The one thing, he should leave Social Security alone. But he should not give any to the illegal immigrants, they did not earn this..the Americans did. One more thing the national language of this country is English, NOT SPANISH, IF a person comes to this country they should have the capability of speaking English, Because they are not mexican american Etc. They have to be either American or Mexican Etc.
    They cannot be both, we are not Europe and have a lot of countries we have STATES (THE UNITED STATES) and if they don't want to speak our language then they should return to the country they came from. If I am not mistaken the first man to come to this country was, Lief Erickson, a Viking.

    November 21, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Jason Charlotte, NC

    This is the kind of thing the democrats do and particularly the Clintons. The entire Clinton political saga has been one sleazy story after another. Mrs. Clinton is the likely suspect here.

    November 21, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Terry, El Paso, TX

    The ethical principles of business and professional sports, summarized by the sentence "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying." has completely permeated politics.

    Now, candidates are suspected of playing dirty tricks on themselves to gain sympathy. Candidates market themselves like new cars. Focus groups, polls, and psychologists are used to deduce what the voter wants to hear so they can then make certain that they hear it.

    November 21, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Dan, TX

    Come on, the republicans are just practicing for the general election, nothing wrong with that.

    Or maybe you think it is a vast left wing conspiracy by Clinton to bring down the best republican candidate?

    November 21, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Linda, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Romney needs to look no further than one of his "Christian value" Republican rivals. The GOP has taken this kind of lying, smearing stuff to a new level (can anyone forget the lovely South Carolinians turning on McCain because of Bush/Rove calls about his fathering a black baby (the baby was adopted by the McCains)). I kind of lost respect for McCain when he didn't kick Bush's arse and refuse to ever talk to the jerk. And let's not forget the GOP smear machine with Swift Boats (which were proven to be all lies) and then smearing 3-amputee war hero Max Cleland about being unpatriotic. Mitt, look no further than the hateful bunch you associate yourself with.

    November 21, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Mike in Austin

    Unbelievable that people would associate Romney's campaign with the calls. That is all...

    November 21, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Riddick, Durham, NC

    One must understand, for a faithful Mormon like Romney, spreading anti-Mormon sentiments for any reason would be considered a serious betrayal of one's own faith. A Mormon would feel he needs God's help to win the election, and would not risk offending him. Romney has shown he clearly values his Mormonism. He was even a missionary, and certainly has frustrating memories of people who spread anti-Mormon sentiments to thwart his work then. I think, in his mind, using such a trick would be out of the question. I don't think he was involved.

    November 21, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Bill Flemington, NJ

    Common sense says this is another candidate. If anyone thinks it was Romney provide something know as a "fact" – something that can be verified, or please shut up.

    November 21, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. adam, marietta, ga.

    Repubicans are successful and rich because they don't waste time with stunts such as this... Hillary's camp on the other hand...

    November 21, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Neill C., Montgomery, Alabama

    This was probably a Democrat. This is exactly the type of thing they like to do.

    November 21, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Linda, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Dan is absolutely correct that the GOP smear machine is just gearing up for the general election. Mitt associates himself with the slimiest of slime (the GOP), so he'll find them to be his nastiest detractors.

    Jason, you are clueless - Dems couldn't even hold water for the GOP slime machine – you guys are brutal!

    November 21, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Neither party is immune from this type of stunt.

    But it is funny that he is starting to gain some traction and this magically appears, where is Columbo when you need him?

    But it's not like this has been a dirty campaign, nobody is getting money from suspicious origins or planting questions in the audience, what's that, oh yeah, I forgot about her...

    Doesn't she have a group that was called her "secret police" by HER OWN PEOPLE that would dig stuff up on political rivals or "friends of her husband"?

    So based on histories of THESE politicians running NOW.......

    November 21, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. Butch Dillon

    It's not so absurd to think someone in Willard's camp actually played the card in reverse. What better way to make yourself look like a martyr when no one else is doing it for you? And if this is such an "un-American" tactic, why did Willard and his crew launch the phone campaign? The guy is lying through his deceitful teeth, just looking to create a sympathy edge for himself because he is slipping across the nation. Nice Mormon trick Willard, but it will not work.

    November 21, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. Mark, Rennes, France

    Don't you think "Hedge Fund Mitt" is a better nickname than Mitt "Moneybags" Romney? Has a better ring, doesn't you think?

    November 21, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Or maybe you think it is a vast left wing conspiracy by Clinton to bring down the best republican candidate?

    Posted By Dan, TX : November 21, 2007 12:29 pm

    An oxymoron. You can't use "best" and "RepubliKKKan" in the same sentence. The GOP represents everything that's wrong with America.

    November 21, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. laurinda ny

    I do think Mitt would orchestrate this out of his own campaign. he seems just desperate enough to do somlething this haneous.

    November 21, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Pat, Salem VA

    In this present political climate...anything is possible, even sabotaging your own campaign and placing the blame elsewhere. What a shame!!!!

    November 21, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    Jason in Charlotte – please share the facts of your assertions. The only recent proof of this type of campaigning is that of Bush supporters and their actions against McCain in South Carolina.

    Just because you say it and believe it – doesn't make it true. Those that spread lies are the worst of the worst.

    November 21, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Todd, Las Vegas, NV

    I do not know who is on the Romney Team, but if they did this, they did it without Romney's knowledge. No way would Romney know and let this happen.

    Whoever or whatever person or group is behind this, is pretty weak for not coming forth and taking responsibility. What does that Group or Person have to hide if they believe what they paid for.

    The Presidential Political process is ridiculous. After all these Candidates knock each other for how the other is wrong for America they will eventually ask one to be a running mate for VP, or ask the dropouts to throw in their support for them.

    November 21, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. stella sherman norwood ma

    I'm a legal immigrant who waited 10 years for all the legal documentations to be approved before I migrated to this country and I have every right to tell all those ILLEGAL ALIENS to get out of this country and tell all those legal residents to support the law of the land. I truly believe that Mitt Romney will enforce that law once he wins the white house. And about religion at least he has a FAITH.

    November 21, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. Angel, Los Angeles of Anaheim

    I think the asinine comments from Robert from Deming, New Mexico proves my theory that great literature in New Mexico is what written on the back of a can of Coors.

    November 21, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    Robert in Deming: I wonder what the First Natives thought when the saw the first man, Lief Ericson, coming to THIER country.

    And for the Record, Mike Huckabee is also an ordained minister. And holding a priesthood does not make a righteous man. Ask the thousands of children that were sexually abused by "righteous" priests.

    I do agree with you about speaking English in this country, though.

    November 21, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Andrew, NJ

    its probably Huckabee. He is the guy running on being a social conservative, and Romney is his biggest competition in Iowa

    November 21, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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