Excerpts from Romney's Liberty address largely ignore religion
May 11th, 2012
11:37 AM ET
2 years ago

Excerpts from Romney's Liberty address largely ignore religion

(CNN) – Short portions of Mitt Romney's commencement address to the evangelical Liberty University largely skip over the topic of religion, focusing instead on the job market for recent graduates and the importance of family in developing character.

Romney is slated to deliver his address Saturday at the Lynchburg, Virginia, institution. Liberty University, which was started by Moral Majority co-founder Jerry Falwell in 1971, bills itself as the largest Christian evangelical university in the world.

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In his address, Romney will portray the economy as hostile for graduating college seniors.

"For you and so many young Americans, our current troubles can be discouraging," Romney will say, according to excerpts of the speech distributed by his campaign. "You are ready for jobs that were supposed to be ready for you. Millions wait on the day when there are jobs for everyone willing to work, and opportunities to match your hopes and your goals. But don't lose heart, because that day is coming."

In a subtle reference to his bid for the White House, Romney will say "lately I've found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches," a nod to both the length of a presidential term and the traditional number of years students spend in college.

"Let's just say that not everybody has filled these past four years with as much achievement as you have," Romney will say, an apparent knock on President Barack Obama.

Liberty has become a frequent stop for Republican politicians seeking to bolster credibility among religious conservatives. Sen. John McCain delivered the commencement address in 2006, when he was preparing to run for the GOP nomination. McCain, like Romney, was often viewed skeptically by Christian evangelicals.

McCain's address focused on broad themes, rather than narrowing in on religious ideology, but the appearance did allow McCain to target voters he might not otherwise have reached.

The excerpts released Friday by Romney's campaign cover similarly broad subject matter, delving into Romney's role as a family man.

"Maybe you've heard that Ann and I have a pretty large family, and I'm sure glad I like having grandchildren because every time I turn around there's more of them," Romney will say. "Two more arrived last week, twin boys David and William, which brings us to eighteen grandchildren we have welcomed into the world."

He will go on to relay advice from his father George, who served as governor of Michigan before running for the GOP presidential nomination in 1968.

"I asked him once, 'What was your greatest accomplishment?' Without a moment's pause, his answer was, 'Raising you four kids.' I had his example to follow, and I have never once regretted missing any experience or opportunity in business in order to be with my wife and five sons," Romney will say.

He'll continue: "Regrets usually come the other way around, from missing moments with your children that don't come again. The same holds true for time with your parents as the years fall away. Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn't one of them."


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Religion
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Gus

    Yo Bishop, Good luck with that crowd of 2!!! I believe it Great that those Kids are Boycotting your Beliefs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Willis

    Can you Spell B O Y C O T T ???????????????????

    May 11, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. NVa Native

    Creepy dude in the land of creepy people – just more ammunition for the thinking majority who will to re-elect our President.

    May 11, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. gg

    wasn,t religion the reason macain was the pick last time.i remember all those christian leaders screaming no mormon, and obama had to prove he was a real american christian every day for two years.

    May 11, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Bill, NY

    It just goes to show that no matter how twisted you are, everyone in this great country gets a shot, even Romney Grits!

    May 11, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Willis

    Telling these kids youre going to give them Majic Underwear wont do the Trick... The Boycott is On TRUE DAT!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Willis

    Mittster, Save yourself the Embarrassment, Its not to late. You could always give the speech to The Quarom all all WHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. frank

    Hoffa hasnt even begun, Mr Personality, Its gonna get much more Rough for your Tabby Nackle Self!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Maybe you've heard that Ann and I have a pretty large family, and I'm sure glad I like having grandchildren because every time I turn around there's more of them"

    Yeah, well, he likes cars and trees too. Especially Detroit trees. Getting beyond that, this whole procreation thingy hasn't been on my list of "qualifying for president" attributes. Probably never will be.

    May 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. frank

    1 SIMPLE question for you Bishop Pinocchio Willard Mitt Romney. Do you really think that Americans are going to steal other Americans Voter Registration Cards???????????? Quit it with the Damn Voter Surpression Lobbying. You are a true NON AMERICAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    He avoided talking about religion, because these were all third tier people at best. Meaning: in the Mormon religion, ONLY those who are married in the Mormon Church can go to the first tier of heaven (and perhaps become Gods themselves). The second tier is for people who joined the Mormon Church and have done good works... they get to be servants to the first tier. Everyone else has a shot at the third (Terrestial) heaven. God doesn't visit them there, but sometimes Jesus stops by and says hey.
    Didn't you all learn this is Sunday School?

    May 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. souptwins

    Serious question- how do you get a comment box to show up when there's not one there but others have been posting on that article?

    May 11, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. zip

    Jerry Falwell used to say Mormons weren't Christians. But now Mitt Romney is invited to speak? Do a wiki search on the Book of Mormon. You will understand why Jerry is spinning in his grave.

    May 11, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. Amater vs Businessman

    Bill Clinton thought so little of President Obama — mocking him as an “amateur” — that he pressed his wife last summer to quit her job as secretary of state and challenge him in the primaries, a new book claims,

    “The country needs you!” the former president told Hillary Clinton, urging her to run this year, according to accounts of the conversation included in Edward Klein’s new biography of Obama.

    May 11, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Carrissa

    As he sits in Fox News studios & waits for the Crain to drop Morris. They all yell Group Hug!!! KISS KISS We love you Mitt, Love you to Fox!!!!

    May 11, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Jersey George

    If Jerry Falwell were alive today he wouldn't give Romney the time of day. Evangelicals stick together and attack anyone not in their coven.

    May 11, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Amater vs Businessman

    But according to the book, Bill Clinton unloaded on Obama and pressed Hillary to run against her boss during a gathering in the ex-president’s home office in Chappaqua last August that included longtime friends, Klein said.

    “The economy’s a mess, it’s dead flat. America has lost its Triple-A rating . . . You know better than Obama does,” Bill said.

    Bill Clinton insisted he had “no relationship” with Obama and had been consulted more frequently by his presidential successor, George W. Bush.

    Obama, Bill Clinton said, “doesn’t know how to be president” and is “incompetent.”

    May 11, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    Wait, what? I thought families were "off limits"? Is Rmoney also gonna fundraise off his family stories? Where's the radical right's poutrage?

    May 11, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Ronda in Houston,TX

    If these are the best excerpts him campaign can give, it's going to be B-O-R-I-N-G...... Also MItt, don't forget to tell the seniors "I got my wealth from hard work, now go get yours".

    May 11, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    This man is TRULY dangerous for this country. There seems to be a pattern of scary behavior with Willard and it starts with an "I".

    1) Infillitrate
    2) Isolate
    3) Inflict

    See (incident involving former classmate). This is EXACTLY the way he would treat the middle class and poor people of this country SHOULD he happen to become president. Willard is a sick and twisted individual with no morals or discipline whatsoeever. I only wish the women in his past could come forward with their stories but I am sure they have been "paid off" by daddy and the records sealed forever.

    Can this country afford to have Willard govern it?

    May 11, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. emma

    What is missing from this report is that the graduating class was upset that a Mormon was addressing them. As evangelical fundamentalist Christians, many of these young people have been taught that Mormonism is a cult. Romney not addressing religion is partially out of the conflict over his religion.

    May 11, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    "I asked him once, 'What was your greatest accomplishment?' Without a moment's pause, his answer was, 'Raising you four kids.' I had his example to follow, and I have never once regretted missing any experience or opportunity in business in order to be with my wife and five sons," Romney will say.

    And while he was "raising" and breeding others were dying and leading in his place. What a awful person he is.

    May 11, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Don

    Yes Conservatives. Pretend there is no God this year. Beware of the scribes and Parasies. Hypocrites

    May 11, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    Correction: What an awful person he is.

    May 11, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Amater vs Businessman

    Good luck pushing Mr. Klein's "books" as "fact" ... especially considering his prior literary accomplishments been dismissed by academics and journalists as "not only psychobabble", but "psycho-blarney."

    Amater, indeed.

    May 11, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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