Santorum: Romney would have been 'uncomfortable' at Christian forum
November 20th, 2011
06:00 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum: Romney would have been 'uncomfortable' at Christian forum

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum suggested Sunday that Mitt Romney's absence at a Christian forum held in Des Moines a day earlier was because he may not have been completely at ease in an environment discussing his faith.

"Clearly this was a forum that Mitt Romney was not particularly comfortable with," Santorum told reporters when asked for his reaction to the Republican frontrunner's decision to skip the event, which was held in a church and sponsored by The Family Leader, a conservative group. The event was aimed at getting to the heart of candidates' core moral and religious beliefs.

"It was one that was longer form and one that was much more personal, much more reflective of where you've been and where you're going, as opposed to just talking about the future in sound bites... I don't think that played to Gov. Romney's strengths," Santorum said.

Asked to elaborate, Santorum said he didn't think Romney would be comfortable in a setting that explores "why you believe what you believe and where that came from."

Romney is a member of the Mormon faith.

President and CEO of The Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats told reporters at the forum that Romney "lacks judgment" for deciding to hold an event in New Hampshire instead, adding that he "dissed" Christian conservatives.

"If he ends up being the nominee, this base has to be inspired to go to work for him. We're still a swing state," Vander Plaats said.

Santorum was also asked by reporters how he responds to the Obama administration singling out Romney in attacks, specifically in a speech given to Iowa Democrats Saturday night by former Obama Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"I encourage them to take shots at anybody they want to," Santorum said. "I hope for the day when they start taking shots at me."

Santorum spoke to reporters prior to a speech he was scheduled to give at a church in Des Moines.

Romney's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

–CNN's Shannon Travis contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Religion • Rick Santorum
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Tired of the nonsense

    I don't want a religious wingnut in the White House. Wasn't Bush bad enough? People want to repeat that disaster? We have a Constitution that rules this country, not someone's warped interpretation of what they think the Bible says. The Bible is incomplete, it's lost too much due to translation, it's the fabled history of a religion, not the history of this world. Using it as a guide in public policy is sheer idiocy. This is America. We are free of a theological government and anyone who puts any religion above what's best for this country has no place in politics.

    Oh, and by the way, Mormonism is a Christian sect, just like the evangelicals and southern baptists (which are so close to being the same thing that it's hard to separate them), the presbyterians, the methodists, the Catholics, etc. And all religions are cults. Cults become "official" when folks who belong to them get into a position of power regardless of what the belief system is. Just take a look at how each religion for the last 5000 years came about.

    November 20, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. GOP = Greed Over People

    Perhaps, it was the circling lions in the arena that frightened Romney away?

    November 20, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. RJWTimes Bradford England

    Romney is a better candidate.

    November 20, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Santorum still doesn't get it.......Mormons believe in Christ.

    November 20, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    too bad that they had the people they DID have up there supposed to represent the Christian faith. Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry have been shown as LIARS especially when it comes to some of their attacks on the current president. The jury is still out on Herman Cain as whether he is totally truthful or not and Newt Gingrich's past sins hang like a thick smog over LA. When I see people up there like that claiming to be "born again Christians" I have a hard time making a valid argument to some of my agnostic and atheist co-workers and associates.

    November 20, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  6. Gerald

    One wonders...

    With his deliberate absence (after he agreed to attend) of Mitt 'the flip flopper' for the Christain forum, one wonders if there's someting about mormonism that he is trying to hide. Any aspiring president should be comfortable talking about his religion anywhere in the world, moreso in the United States. It's obvious that Romney is uncomfortable about his religious convictions. Every time the subject comes up he tries to avoid it altogether.

    The Arepublicans, therefore, needs to step back and take a good look at Romney. Does he really reflect the views of the religious right whose support he must gain for the nomination? Shouldn't he seriously address his religious values? The overwhelming of republicans and Americans certain lt have no idea of what mormonism entails.

    Romney nedds to 'man up' and own up to what he stands for and how it will affect his decision making as a leader. Certainly, he's hiding something and one is forced to wonder about what he is hiding.

    November 20, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. Tired of the nonsense

    Guys, Mormonism IS a Christian sect just like Evangelicals (sort of), Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Unitarians - heck, there are a lot of sects in the Christian grouping of religion.

    November 20, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Wyobob

    This reminds me of the discrimination lawsuit where one woman was terminated because she was the wrong shade of black. LOL

    November 20, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. Independent from NH

    Santorum will never get any shots taken at him because his ridiculous 1% poll rating is a complete joke. He is a far right radical, a freak, a person who believes science is a myth and that 6th century theocracy should rule our nation.

    November 20, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. Charemor

    Santorum is such a dim bulb. When is he going to give it up?

    November 20, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Just say no to Flipper

    Flipper has no core moral or religious values. He's just a puppet Rove is trying to ram down our throats.

    November 20, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. ED FL

    As a democrat party line voter I feel that Romney used exceptional judgement by not showing up to your particular group. It shows he has good judgement by choosing not to hang around wiith you SIX screwballs . There isn't a chance in the world that any of your group of sex [whoops misspelled six] has a chance to beat him. He wants to have the honor to lose to President Obama. He deserves it as he is the only one that can INTELLECTUALLY debate with the President.

    November 20, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. Mississippi Mike

    Does this man have ANY sort of a conscience?

    November 20, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. george of the jungle

    ricks right.Mitt is keeping a low profile and letting the rest of the clowns knock each other off.

    November 20, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. Penquista

    Mormon's are christian because they think jesus is the savior and all that. However, as the most distinct group of historically polygamous christians they must understand that appealing to a conservative base when you are anuthing but the rthodox is ridiculous.

    November 20, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Nunya

    Maybe some day the Republican party will wake up and realize that they don't have to cater to the extreme religious right.

    November 20, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. LLOYD ROBERTS

    So I guess anyone who is not Christian, not only Mormon, would have felt uncomfortable at that forum. How Christian of you Mr. Santorum to attend. I see you really have the true spirit of Christ

    November 20, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  18. Jim

    Um, Rick shouldn't that have been "We would have welcomed Mr. Romney as America does of any person of any faith?"

    November 20, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. Greg from Florida

    It's so heartening to know that Rick Santorum is making religion a forefront issue in the campaign. As a voter who is not affiliated with any party, I feel better knowing that Mitt Romney is not participating in events where the religious faith and beliefs of the candidates is the main issue.

    This is not a Christian nation, this is a nation of religious freedom. My applause to Romney. Santorum needs to worry about being a strong leader who will unify ALL Americans so WE can ALL solve our economic problems.

    November 20, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. indyreader

    Just when I thought Santorum couldn't get any more irrelevant, he gets himself all into a froth over another candidate's lack of participation in an ostentatious public show of piety.This guy isn't fit to lead a post-Super Bowl cleanup crew, let alone a country.

    November 20, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  21. john

    Yea, I can see it now. Mitt discussing his great granddads many wives & how it must of been so cool for a man of his cult a couple of generations ago to own as many wives as you wanted. As for making Mitt really run & hide, ask him if his cult of a religion should apologize to the black race for even 200 years after The US Constitution was written, blacks were still not allowed in the Cults priesthood. Can you spell C O W A R D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 20, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. wag

    That is ridiculous. Santorum is just grasping at whatever he can, he should go on the principles, not religion

    November 20, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. FRANK FROM LAS VEGAS

    Santorum along with Bachmann continue to say stupid and silly things as a way of getting attention, here I am, what about me, hey I'm still here, someone talk to me. These two are the saddest among the GOP, followed closely by Perry.

    November 20, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. john

    Look, I believe America should know exactly what they are getting when it comes to a Man running for Office. It is 100% true that a few generations ago Mormon men were allowed as many wives as they wanted. Its an incredibly made up religion based on skin color & having many woman to call your spouses. Its really bad. Their scriptures also talk about the men of dark skin & how they are cursed from God, I mean its really, really bad!!!!!

    November 20, 2011 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  25. DAn

    What is Rick Santorum's job? I mean, what does he do besides raise money to run for office and smear people? Does he have a career of some kind or does he just love the attention this much?

    November 20, 2011 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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