(CNN) - After weeks of attacking President Barack Obama's economic record, Mitt Romney took a sharply different tack Thursday in his latest television ad, going after the president for policies the Republican challenger amounts to a "war on religion."
In the spot, which also features footage from Romney's trip in July to Poland, an announcer says Obama's heath care law forces religious institutions to "go against their faith."
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"Who shares your values?" the announcer asks. "President Obama used his healthcare plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith. Mitt Romney believes that's wrong."
In a press release that accompanied the ad, the campaign justifies the "war on religion" claim using an editorial published in the San Antonio Express News in February, as a political firestorm waged over a controversial federal rule requiring employers cover contraception in their health insurance plans.
The rule in question mandated all employers, including religiously affiliated organizations like hospitals and colleges, provide free contraception to employees through health insurance plans. Churches were exempted from the law.
After uproar from conservatives and religious groups, Obama announced an accommodation to the rule on February 10. Under the new plan, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.
A poll taken in March by the Public Religion Research Institute showed a majority of Americans - 54% - said religiously affiliated colleges and universities should be required to provide employees with health care plans that cover contraception.
Romney's thirty-second ad, titled "Be Not Afraid," does not directly reference the contraception rule, or the subsequent accommodation from the Obama adminstration.
After the "war on religion" segment, the ad uses a clip of Romney speaking in Poland.
"In 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul II, spoke words that would bring down an empire: 'Be not afraid,'" Romney is showed saying.
"When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?" the announcer asks.
Romney's speech in Warsaw marked his last public remarks on a week long, three-country foreign swing in July that was meant to bolster his foreign policy credentials. The trip also brought the candidate to London and Israel - two stops marred by stumbles, including a suggestion that the organizers of the London Olympics were ill prepared to host the 2012 Games. In Israel, his remarks in support of the Jewish state provoked an angry response from Palestinian leaders. But his stop in Poland was largely free of any major gaffe from the candidate.
In Thursday's ad, Romney is shown meeting with Lech Walesa, the shipyard worker who went on to inspire the Solidarity trade union and the eventual fall of the Iron Curtain. When Romney was in Poland, Walesa effectively endorsed him for president.
Romney's ad Thursday could be seen as a direct appeal to Catholic voters, who according to national exit polls went for Obama over Sen. John McCain in 2008 54%-45%. Organizations of Catholic bishops have led the charge against the contraception provision in Obama's heath care law.
Obama, who was campaigning in Colorado Wednesday, also subtly harkened back to February's debate over contraception. He was introduced by Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke, who was at the center of the controversy earlier this year after testifying to Congress about the importance of providing birth control to employees of religiously affiliated institutions.
Responding to the Romney ad, an Obama spokeswoman defended the president's contraception stance.
“President Obama believes that, in 2012, women should have access to free contraception as part of their health insurance, and he has done so in a way that respects religious liberty," Lis Smith wrote. "Churches are completely exempt and religiously affiliated organizations that object to providing the service will never have to pay for contraception. Mitt Romney apparently disagrees with this approach and it’s no surprise why. He has pledged to ‘get rid of’ of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and would take women’s health back to the 1950’s. Women can’t afford his extreme policies."
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
Obviously Romney has nothing but lies to run on.....Obama/Biden 2012
Romney is desperate – attacks getting shriller all the time. Funny how the Mormon is trying to appeal to Catholics and Jews, and hob-knobbing with a man who promoted the power of trade-unions.
BTW, Where are the tax-returns Willard?
they talk about racist and racism, look who is the biggest racists, Its obama in all his radical unglory. obama is racists against christians, whites, blacks, America, patriots, growth and life. The Biggest Racists is obama.
And it's a war on women to not cover contaception in health plans; bet these mostly Catholic plans cover Viagra and pedophilia counseling.
Who care if Obama is Muslim or athiest or what? Bush screwed things up so badly that Obama could not be successful even if he tried. Repubs are a bunch of old, white, Christians that want to work for a living. Wise up repubs and get on the gravy train.
Not only is Mitt a liar, but he is not a good liar. The question remains are religious organizations forcing their beliefs on their employees? So will a Jehovah Witness have to pay for blood transfusions or do they only care about a woman's organs
And I still argue that all Christian religious institutions should refuse to cover any drug or surgery a person requires due to being overweight as sloth and gluttony are sins.
What a slim bag, my Polish born father and a holocaust surviver is buried up in Idaho. But since his Catholic cemetary was desicrated back in the early 1990's by some unknown assilants possible Mormons I've had my fill of them. Not just that but their insistance to baptist the dead from not just Jewish Holocaust victims but all faith victims of the holocaust.
I don't care what some Mormon illreligious Bishop is trying to gain a campaign victory by using the Pope in his message.
I cannot understand how this creature can even run for the Presidency.
Well, I can't wait for Romney to choose Paul Ryan, who claims he was inspired by Ayn Rand to enter public service. Yeah, Ayn Rand who said Christianity is evil.
Mormon Mitt wants to play the religion card? Since you want to go there Willard, let's! You are the leader of a cult. Your church is racist. It said that black people don't have souls and none of us will go to heaven. It didn;t allow black men in the clergy. For you to be a man of faith, how come you lie so much? Is that Mormon doctrine? I'm sorry, but the country is not putting Warren Jeffs Romney into the White House.
Will there ever be a time in the campaign when Romney actually says something of substance about what he will do as president. I don't mean just saying "I'll made America Great," or "I'll create millions of jobs," or "I'll lower taxes AND eliminate the debt?"
But is he ever going to say something . . . anything about how he might do this.
And another question. Since the things he has said and done in the past about, oh say health care or national defense aren't really much different from what President Obama has done; when Romney criticizes the president on these issues isn't he really criticizing his old self? But then again he's probably not at risk of losing votes here. Just because people have the right to vote, doesn't mean they think they have any responsibility to know anything about what they are actually voting on.
Ever notice that the people who are most vocal about the evils of contraception have no need of it?
The real war involves a war on womens rights!
The majority of Americans do not believe these lies from Romney. Espeically the American women
God allows the sun to shine on the righteous and unrighteous. He created the forbiden fruit. It would have been nice if he denied unrighteous people access to basic human rights of breathing the air and living to walk the earth. The church should not disrminate because the head of the church does not. Give people access to contraceptives. Choice is human basic right.
Mitt has even conned the Catholic Church with these charges, but the facts are:
Obama has offered a compromise that would require the insurance companies, not the hospitals and colleges, etc. to pay for contraception, but the Catholic Bishops, who vote Republican anyway, wouldn't go for it.
Most of these institutions ALREADY paid for contraception BEFORE the Affordable Healthcare Act was passed, but it didn't become an issue until Obama's name was attached to it.
As a Catholic, I'm ashamed of my Church.
These are the obstacles to Tyrants. Remember what Maximilien Robespierre did before he was deposed for his tyranny? Along with the other Tyrants that claimed to be Champions of the 'People'. They set out to control the Nuclear Family, Community Cohesiveness, Religious Doctrine, Churches, Cultures, State Sovereignty, ... Anything that that was an obstacle to their 'Total Governance'.
So Romney is spot on to 'Acknowledge' that the Obama Faction is imposing its authority/tyranny, and Social Doctrine upon the masses.
One problem that Romney forgot is this: the "war on religion" he claims President Obama has launched by providing healthcare, preachers-priest-nuns-cardinals etc ALL need healthcare too! I want to see a real contrast to what Romney is doing. I want the president to provide an address (specifically) for people who don't want healthcare insurance,send in a card rejecting it with all their family members name on it! So, when someone from that family needs medical care, their names will come up on the "Self Rejection" list for them and their familiy members.Afterall,this insurance thing has gotten out of hand. So send in your list of family members to CNN and let your voice be heard!Case closed.
Fools...this ad will end up being a pro-Obama ad with women, all women. No doubt men thought this one up.
Wow. First, it's Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Now it's birth control. Never mind Romney's Mormon faith held that black people were the cursed descendants of Cain unworthy of "priesthood" until 1978, almost 15 years after the heart of the civil rights era. Don't believe it – scratch the surface – google "Mormon black Cain", see what returns. Kinda reminds me of the mostly white Mississippi church where recently a few members persuaded the pastor not to marry a black couple in their church.
It is still our choice to use birth control right. Evev if the govt. Gives it to us for free.
There is an all out war on religion. The tide has turned and religous values are now labeled as "bigotry" and "ignorance". Christians are being persecuted in the middle east. Beware, something wicked this way comes. The lines are being drawn. There is a God and there is life after death. When you get there and realize your entire world view was wrong, remember that you HAD a choice. It will be your own fault. Don't try to shuck the blame to "society". You will reap what you have sewn
No one in this Administration is forcing anyone in the catholic faith to use contraceptives. It is a given that over ninety percent (90%) of these Catholics, who are screaming freedom of religion use contraception, including vasectomies. Obviously they are using their 'free will' as dictated by the teachings of the Catholic church. The shame is on the Catholic hierarchy who is 'forcing' their members to exercise their voting rights to support a candidate of their choice. Any church which gets involved in politics should IMMEDIATELY LOSE THEIR TAX FREE STATUS!
Statistically, people who are concerned about this "forced contraception coverage" are republican voters. So either Romney is still trying to court Conservatives, or he's wasting resources trying to do something else. He's dangerously re-invoking women's health issues in order to shape a debate on religious freedom.
Rmoney the Mormon quoting a catholic. Hell just froze. I mean "the fake hot place the people fear for no reason" just froze