Romney talks faith, pranks in Christian television interview
May 12th, 2012
09:37 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney talks faith, pranks in Christian television interview

(CNN) – He’ll pass on “pastor in chief,” but Mitt Romney may just fit a different bill: prankster in chief.

The GOP presidential contender talked about his faith and penchant for pranks in a Saturday television interview conducted after his commencement address at an evangelical university.

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Romney, who is Mormon, did not address his own faith in the speech, but sought to draw connections between his beliefs and those held by Liberty University, which calls itself the largest evangelical Christian university in the world.

Echoing remarks of Liberty’s chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr., Romney told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the presidential selection process involves “finding people who share our values and our views, and work for a person who can become our commander in chief, but perhaps not our pastor in chief.”

Asked to identify “one of the biggest misconceptions about your Mormon faith,” Romney instead kept very close to the remarks he delivered to the 6,000 graduates at the Virginia university.

“I know that there are very significant differences in creeds and theologies between religions, and certainly between my faith and the faith of people here at Liberty University,” Romney said. “And yet, we find common ground, and common purpose in service, in values that we share.”

The address came after a Thursday report that he and others had teased, taunted, or even bullied a peer – with possible homophobic undertones - at the all-boys prep school he attended in the 1960s. Romney said he did not remember the incidents described in a Washington Post report and apologized if anyone had been hurt if the incident had taken place.

Earlier this month, his wife, Ann, described a “wild and crazy man” inside of her husband, who is sometimes described as stiff.

In the Saturday interview, Romney described one such prank he pulled on a state trooper who had short-sheeted the then-Massachusetts governor’s hotel room bed.

“And the next morning when I came down to breakfast, he of course had a big smile, because he was going to see how I reacted,” Romney said. “I pretended not to notice.”

The candidate describes having a letter typed on hotel stationery, “saying we are so sorry that your bed was improperly made, Mr. Romney, and we have fired the maid who did it.”

A staffer showed the letter to the trooper, Romney said, whose boss insisted the trooper call the hotel to explain the maid’s innocence.

“He got on the phone all red-faced, and then finally, of course when the manager had no idea what he was talking about, he realized the joke was on him,” Romney recounted. “So, we play tricks even with the people I work with."

Excerpts of the interview were posted online Saturday evening. Other clips show Romney reiterating his support for “traditional marriage” and “the sanctity of life,” as well as describing a time when he and one of his sons on jet skis ferried to shore a family whose boat had capsized near his lake house.

– CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Angy

    willard you are a liar of the worst kind.

    May 12, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Mitt Romney did a brilliant job delivering the commencement speech at Liberty University today. I am by no stretch of the imagination one of the religious conservatives but do know they are a big part of what will help Romney beat Obama. Mitt Romney showed what a great speaker, motivator and compassionate leader he is with this speech and I think developed a great deal of support. He will continue to develop support as people get to know him through this campaign. he is a great guy and will make a great President. We need that now more than ever.

    May 12, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Jorge UU Boosh

    haha- that MItt SURE LOVES to FIRE PEOPLE or JOKE about FIRING people.

    haha.

    May 12, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. Larry L

    These tricks work better when can lie with a straight face... "I take a great deal of credit for the survival of the auto industry"...

    May 12, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  5. craig

    Romney is a silly man.

    May 12, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. Maxx

    Assault is hardly a prank.

    May 12, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. Chaos

    I guess he couldn't beat up a trooper. Good to know his kids git to horse around with jet skis.

    May 12, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  8. kate

    This months Salt Lake City Magazine's cover story, "The Myth of Mitt". Read it!

    May 12, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  9. glorydays

    I've enjoyed listening and seeing Romney on media interviews.....oh wait.....he won't do any....

    May 12, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. John

    Mitt Romney Is so full of Crap It not even funny. This man will say and LIE about anything just so he saying to people he taking to at the time want to hear. The only problem Is he don't mean 90% of It. His Faith has Nothing to do with the Christan Faith, and he know It.

    May 12, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. barbara schwemmlein

    who cares if Mitt cut someones hair. Stop detracting from the real issues....soaring debt, unemployment, failing economy, medicare, social security woes and of course, health care issues. Obama has no record to run on so he looks to blow these kind of things out of proportion. How can he help the gay marriage issue? is is deferred to the states legislature. Get back to the real issues at heart, of which Obama has no record to speak of in his 3.5 years in office!

    May 12, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  12. vosky

    This guy thinks that we are stupid!

    May 12, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  13. fred ca

    Let's see. 4 witnesses to the 'haircut'. Except 1 one now says...he wasn't there (which he says he told the Washington Post). The main source who was 'there' is an attorney. And we all know how honest they are.

    Meanwhile the president sold 'some' dope and cocaine in high school and college (those 3 colleges which we can get no information from)...although we all remember the grade analysis in 2000 between Gore/W. If you do not remember, W's was higher.

    How many Len Bias's did obama create? Not a problem. He is 'cool'.

    May 12, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  14. s.s

    “I know that there are very significant differences in creeds and theologies between religions, and certainly between my faith and the faith of people here at Liberty University,” Romney said. “And yet, we find common ground, and common purpose in service, in values that we share.” perfect answer!

    May 12, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. Marley

    Mormon Bishop Mittens bullied boys who he thought looked "gay".

    May 12, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  16. Desmond, a Canadian

    Mr. Romney it seems has a great need to convince you that he is "cool" like Obama by repeating ad nauseam that he loved playing pranks. Difference is: Obama is a natural who does not need to flog "prankster" credentials. The more Romney tries the sadder he looks.

    May 12, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  17. steven harnack

    One of his favorite pranks is to go into a factory and tell everybody that they no longer have any jobs because his company has just sold all of the machinery to somebody in China, then tell them that he was just joking about the China part.

    May 13, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  18. Thomas

    “I know that there are very significant differences in creeds and theologies between religions, and certainly between my faith and the faith of people here at Liberty University,” Romney said. “And yet, we find common ground, and common purpose in service, in values that we share.”

    Mitt Romney , five sons , all avoided voluntary military service.

    May 13, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  19. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Try moron in chief !!!!!!

    May 13, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  20. GonzoinHouston

    Only Romney could find the humor in implying someone has been fired. (Although I gotta admit, it was a pretty original response) How about that prank of cutting off the kid's hair in prep school? I bet that was a real laugher.

    May 13, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  21. Melissa

    I know CNN is pro-democrat.. But, I really believe that Romney is the right man to lead this country. I'm not rich.. We live paycheck to paycheck, but I agree more with Romney than I do Obama. I think Obama is great man, but not a great leader for the country. I support gays and equal rights, but I think the economy is in desperate need right now of a great president to lead this country.

    May 13, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  22. Kathleen Farrell

    Hey, Romster, remember the time you held down the kid and terrorized him and cut off his hair. That was hysterical. Did you raise your boys to perform similar pranks?
    OH, never mind. You said you doln't recall torturing a classmate.

    May 13, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  23. LCSWquilter

    Is it really good for Romney to be making a joke about someone being fired? Sheesh, this guy will never learn. People being fired is not funny. At least the trooper understood that.

    May 13, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Did anyone ask Mittens about his "prank" of leading a blind teacher into a closed door?

    Mittens isn't a prankster – he's a jerk. And both he and the Liberty U folks are a bunch of hypocrites: Mittens will do anything to get elected prez and the Liberty folks don't have the stones to follow their teachings that tell them Mittens belongs to a cult.

    Bunch of losers all!

    May 13, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  25. Deb in MT

    "Prankster in Chief"? We already had one of those: George W. Bush. How did that work out?

    May 13, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
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