(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."
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"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."
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Everyone is bleating and up in arms about the pro-Obama Super PAC ad regarding the lady who died of cancer. Yet, we have Willard, twice, with this ad and the welfare ad (which was labeled "Pants on Fire"), saying things that are simply untrue. I guess in GOP world that is okay. GOP, thy name is hypocrisy. I still do not get the outrage – you want less abortions = birth control. DUH!!!!! And while Lech Walesa is an admirable man, his endorsement of Willard should have no bearing. I often wonder what color is the sky in GOP world?
OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 2012!!!
Obama's war on America is in full swing. Stop him come this Nov.
So if my religion says that I am not allowed to pay for defense spending with my tax dollars, does that mean both parties are waging war on my religion?
Obama is not a religious guy. He just wants to push healthcare and whatever that entails down our throat whether we agree or not. Since he does not see views from a religious point of view everything he does is slanted toward growth of government. He is the food stamp and welfare President.
"Be Not Afraid"?
This from the people who gave us "terror babies" and wasted Congressional resources trying to rig the evidence presented at kangaroo hearings to "prove" that 80%-90% of the Muslim community on the planet is "extremist" and out to get Amurika? Who threw a nationwide tantrum over a peaceful community center's development plans? This is just more hypocrisy and doublethink.
How about we just say what they really mean? To wit:
"Be not afraid" unless its brown people or muslims.
"War on MY religion," which I want everyone else to obey.
Simple. There's your brass tacks.
CHRISTIANS, WAKE UP! Educate yourself on what the MORMONS believe! They are not Christians. They believe Jesus and Satan are brothers and Jesus was married to 3 women! WAKE up and start asking the right questions!
The GOp is fighting a war in the wrong field. Every single catholic I know uses birth control, the war is against women.
By rekindling this fire, the Republithus are setting explosives against their own team. Bravo team RobMe !
Romeny is right. Obama has thumbed his nose at the people of faith in this country. He has decided that his need for Government to control every aspect of our lives trumps our freedon a religion. I'm not against birthcontol but why does the taxpayer have to pay for it? Just move Obama control amd bigger and morn expensive government. Just what we DON'T need.
SUSAN, excellent use od scarcasm !
The problem bringing religion in to this is that Christ would have nothing to do with any of this. He would be too busy feeding and clothing the poor and visiting the sick- He spoke so much against the self righteous and political leaders of His day. No matter what power and money are the gods at play here and that has nothing to do with God.
Romney is not correct. Independent factcheck rated Romney's lie false months ago. Please look it up.
I think Democrats have attacked religion at least as much as they perceive Republicans to have attacked womens' reproductive rights. Forcing a Catholic to pay for contraception for an employee sounds like an attack on religious freedom to me. Maybe if Democrats stop accusing Republicans of a "war on women", then Republicans can stop accusing Democrats aof a "war on religion".
Shouldn't that be, war by religion? Considering people such as David Barton who deliberately and with malice distort and lie about American history to push their religious agenda on the rest of the nation, the only war going on is by those who want to force everyone else to submit to their beliefs.
Or, if you're Mike Huckabee, have everyone, at gunpoint if necessary, listen to the demented rantings of those trying to shove their mythological and outdated beliefs down everyone's throats.
Yes, there is a war, and it is being waged by those who will use any means, including murder and violence, to forcibly convert or marginalize everyone else so they can inflict their beliefs on this nation.
Please consider some truly religious people, the nuns who are on a bus tour arguing that Republican policies will hurt the middle class, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and "the least among us." It is really Republican proposals that are contrary to religious teachings The Republicans are also in almost complete denial of climate change and other environmental threats to all life on God's Earth..
This is just one of many. The guy is dangerous. If he has another Democrat majority in the House and Senate he'll go nuts in a second term shredding the constitution. Hit Obama and hit him HARD over his reckless trampling of our constitutional rights in a LOT of cases.
"Forcing a Catholic to pay for contraception for an employee sounds like an attack on religious freedom to me. "
Since when can corporations be Catholic?
Every time Mitt opens his mouth he shows the world what a bigoted,sexist,stupid nincompoop he is. Keep talking Mittens.
Another bald-faced lie. Religious institutions are exempted from the law, which is what I think outrageous. I saw McCain become a different person while campaigning and now it seems that Romney, whom I never thought would stoop this low, turn into a caricature like Bachmann and Palin.
This is just too rich. Romney claiming he is the candidate who "represents" Catholic values?
Mormons believe they are the ONLY true church. According to church founder Joseph Smith he was visited...in person... by God and Jesus and they told him ALL other churches are abominations. How do Mormons really think about Catholics?
While subsequent editions of the famous Mormon epic "Mormon Doctrine" written by favorite son "Apostle" Bruce R McConkie (the same guy who was in charge of the 1979 rewrite of Mormon scripture) the 1st edition of that work clearly stated that the Catholic Church was the so called "Church of the devil".
This ad just shows how deeply hypocritical Romney is
still think Jon Stewart said it best: "You've confused a war on your religion with not getting everything you want."
This guy is a bishop in a cult, so he really doesn't know what a real religion is about. Can you imagine, having your relative who was a practicing Catholic all their lives and all of a sudden you find the moron cult has baptized him into their religion. Is that SICK. What right do they have to do this.
Bishop Romney, yes that is his title. It makes you think he has an important role in his cult. Can you imagine a bishop in the Catholic Church espousing war with Iran or Russia. Russia is a Catholic country and Iran needs no excuse to for inflamatory rhetoric. He might be good in business but he is a dunce as a human being. He swallowed Joseph Smith's (scam artist and CHARLATAN OF THE FIRST ORDER) koolaid! !
Romney isn't having any luck trying to move the discussion away from his TAX PROBLEM, so he is trying anything, even this outrageous rouse to distract attention.
He is not to be trusted on anything. He is a deceiver and a fraud.
Obama's HHS mandate is EXACTLY a war on religion. When you are FORCED to fund that which is morally repugnant and clearly contrary to your stated beliefs, it is a direct imposition on your values, faith, and reasoning. The Church was supportive of many of Obamacare's goals but there is NO NEED for the funding of contraception, sterilization, and abortion! The cost of contraception is miniscule. The need for a government mandate on this is completely lacking. The ONLY reason Obama is so adamant about it's inclusion is because his anti-life supporters have made it their number one policy goal. This is NOT good law, good policy, or good politics. The HHS Mandate MUST GO!
Breaking News direct from the War room in Kolob, God is under attack!
Obama antichrist will soon be defeated by the Rush battalion, God willing, and the Beck temple defenders, praise God!
Stay tuned to Murdoch News for further developments of the apocalypse.
I was just thinking the same thing enuff–the throwing and sticking gig.
It's as if the whole bunch keeps pulling this stuff out of the back-sides and are fervently pitching it against a wall....etc. I have this crazy vision of all of them walking around their campaign "war room" in knee-high rubber boots......