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. WHOOSH

    Mitt Romney s worth over $250 million dollars. Do you, Santoy, thinks he want to sat around and pray with you poor guys? I agree with you on that call though. You are right on point with it. Remember, he serves a different (human) GOD. $250 million. Mittn does not have a CLUE how I live and I am taxed as a so called six-figured upper middle class worker bee. I bet he has never shopped in Sears or one of the Mart's or dollar stores. If he doesn't have a cle how the average (99%) American lives, then how can he began to fix, what he claims is wrong with America. Mitt is wrong for America. Stay in the elite towers of thr board room with the 1% you represent mitt.

    November 20, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Rick Santorum , don't you get it ! Nobody cares what you think .

    Go sell deodorant or shoes , do something with your life .

    November 21, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  3. BeverlyNC

    I would imagine all the Republican candidates should have difficulty discussing their faith because their Party doctrine is completely contrary to any Christian values. They destroy funding for programs for the poor. They have indicated people who have lost their job should not eat. They believe people who do not have healthcare should be allowed to die (yet they hyocritically are against the healthcare program). Romney thinks people should lose their homes and just rent. Have Republicans ever even read the Bible and the teachings of Jesus? I see them more like the Moneychangers who Jesus threw out of the Temple for cheating the people and defliling the house of God for greed.
    Not one has any problem lying to whatever crowd is before them either. Republicans have no real values or morals and no qualities required to be our nation's leader.
    President Obama doesn't go around touting his Christianity. He just lives it by his actions and compassion for the PEOPLE

    November 21, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  4. mk1

    Of course it is a forum Romney would be uncomfortable with, any clear thinking Christian would be as well. These fanatical so called Christians are truly scary people and God help us if they prevail.

    November 21, 2011 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  5. m

    Affording Santorum the designation of contender seems misplaced given his poor standing in the polls.

    His only hope is someone might offer him the VP slot. Then whoever is the nominee and Santorum can go down in flames together.

    November 21, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  6. Charlybrains

    very simple answer: Mormons aren't Christians... Mormons don't believe in the same Bible as everyone else... they have their own "inspired books".

    November 21, 2011 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  7. morpunkt

    Santorum is partially correct. Bob Vander Plaats and his ilk are strident anti-Mormons, as well as a significant percentage of Iowan church-goers. But Romney was bold about his faith speech, 4 years ago, during the last election.
    Mitt in 2012.

    November 21, 2011 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  8. Squigman

    Just looking at, and listening to this person makes many of us uncomfortable. But that never stopped the news from parading him out for all to see, and smell.

    November 21, 2011 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  9. T'sah From Virginia

    Rick Santorum is SO RELIGIOUS to the point where he looks CRAZY!!!! That's just a little too much for me!

    November 21, 2011 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  10. M Stark

    I did not know that we were voting for the next pope. The need to count coups is not a very promising indicator of quality leadership material, it is better left to the journalists that need to rake muck.

    November 21, 2011 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  11. Marie MD

    Didn't the family group also endorse some pedophile here or there? Or was it some gay high standing member?
    The overpopulator should go back home and take care of all those seven kids of his.

    November 21, 2011 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Christian forum?
    really? that is what they called this? how about judgement forum instead?

    November 21, 2011 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  13. Nathan G.

    Ladies and gentlemen – Rick Santorum, showing you how to criticize someone else for their faith without outright saying it. How about you look at his policies? His faith is completely irrelevent, no matter how much you want to pound on your King James.

    November 21, 2011 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  14. Slowgun

    "There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' " (1909-1998) US Senator Barry Goldwater(R-Arizona) Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981. Back before the religious wackos took over conservative politics.

    November 21, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  15. Slowgun

    Goldwater was also deeply worried about the Religious Right's long-term impact on his beloved GOP. "If they succeed in establishing religion as a basic Republican Party tenet," he told U.S. News & World Report in 1994, "they could do us in." In an interview with The Post that same year, Goldwater observed, "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."

    November 21, 2011 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  16. mytabloids

    You're running for President, Rick, not for the College of Cardinals. Besides, I think we pretty much know where you stand on all this. And yea, how Christian of you and your buddies to "diss" Romney over this.....

    November 21, 2011 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  17. wave06

    The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect "a wall of separation between church and State."

    Isn't it about time to get Religion out of Politic and adhere to the U.S. Constitution !

    November 21, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  18. DAnna Sviridova

    Book characters and imaginary friends have no business in government. The freedom to worship is gauranteed....but it cannot be allowed to govern.

    November 21, 2011 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
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