(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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We already require some to "go against their faith":
– those that believe in Sharia are blocked for that;
– Adventists who don't believe in transfusions can still be compelled to allow their children to have needed transfusions;
– Christian Scientists can be compelled to provide medical care to their children;
– Those who believe killing is wrong, even in war, are compelled to fund war through their taxes.
And in what way is Obama forcing people to go against their faith? To pay for the *availability" of contraception. Nobody is being forced to use it. If everybody involved *follows* the same faith then nobody will use it and there will be no expense to pay.
Its all just a pretext to object against *something*.
my take away from this ad is that Romney just opened two doors for Obama. 1) religion is on the table to talk about now. so let's start talking about Romney's ridiculous faith (which he is free to practice while the rest of us snicker), and how it's direct conflict with a lot of evangelicals in his base. 2) the ACA is on the table to talk about, and it was his plan in Massachusetts first.
I like how the Mormon guy is twisting his visit to Poland into some sort of endorsement by the Catholic Church. I would think that President Obama's Protestant faith would be closer to Catholicism than would Mormonism. The biggest threat to religious liberty seems to be those who define religious freedom as nothing outside of conservative Christianity.
Separation of Church and State.
anything to distract from showing your taxes eh Mitt? WAR ON RELIGION give me a break. Over 90% of Catholic women admit to using birth control and nobody is forcing the ones that don't want to to use it. Maybe you should try to focus on the states that are trying to deny legal citizens the right to vote..something the GOP seemed not very interested in doing during the 2010 mid-terms or during either of the Bush election years. I wonder why not?
Romney lies. Really no surprise is it? As it stands, all that is required is coverage...what that coverage includes is totally up to the company. What it can't do is exclude people for pre-existing conditions. But the facts don't fuel controversy the way lies do, do they?
There is no war on religion from the president, instead it is the Christian religion being forced upon everyone else in this country. It appears that unless you are a "Christian" you are not patriotic, an american etc. Religion has no place in a private family's or individuals decision to use contraceptives or any other procedures. Making health care and contraceptives available does not impinge on anyone's religion. Enough already.
Our Healthcare Law is an outstanding one that makes sure ALL Americans have access to the best healthcare we offer. No games with private insurance companies on costs, treatments covered, pre-existing conditions, lifetime costs. They are all gone and we all benefit. Healthcare is an important tenet in Christianity. Jesus healed the sick and he did not ask for their insurance card or their ability to pay him. There are no rules on contraception in the Bible. Those are man-created and have nothing to do with religion in its pure form. Republicans are the ones defying religion and the teaching of Jesus by wanting to limit who gets healthcare coverage and intefering most in private decisions between a woman and her doctor. Republicans need to stay out of our healthcare decisons and follow the teachings of Jesus in how People are to be treated in all areas of life.
Romney rubbish once again. Mitt is not being honest with the American people.
Nothing quite like a Mormon accusing somebody else of attacking religion.
Why did Romney “volunteer” to run the Olympics? Because as a good businessman, he saw a profit in it:
While running the Olympics, Mitt Romney steered millions of dollars in Olympic contracts to Bain Capital subsidiaries that he owned, including Sealy Mattress, Domino's Pizza, and Marriott Hotels.
Romney offered Office Depot a contract buy-out and a $1 million payoff so that he could give their Olympic contract to Staples, a Bain-owned company.
Romney took his Olympic profits and hid them overseas in the Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts to avoid paying taxes on them. He won't even release his records from running the Olympics to show us exactly how much he made off the Games.
These guys kill me. As a recipient of 15 years of Catholic education, I have to laugh when I hear the Catholic hierarchy complain of persecution whenever government action inhibits thier ability to control, intimidate and bully their parishoners or employees. What a joke. it's not the government's responsibility to help the Catholic Church controil the reproductive habits of their followers or employees. Only the completely brainwashed could possibly buy this load of trash. Read a little history and figure out whether the Catholic Church has been on the giving or receiving end of persecution. "War on Reiligion" indeed.
Could not possibly agree with you more.
Enough already. Robmey, get on with your plans to fix everything you said you would repeal and replace.
Oh yeah, I forgot, you Robmey don't have any plans for anything. My Bad.
Mitt, can you even get any more pathetic?
Don't you have a company you need to disassemble and through a few more hundred people out of work?
True Conservatives know that Jesus would be a Liberal but will shout as loud as they can that he would be a Conservative.
Just shows how desperate the Romney Campaign is becoming, Republican's must be scratching their heads wondering why they didn't just run John Mccain w/o Palin this time around.
We need to have a war against religion and against those who steer away from scientific fact and choose to live and make decisions based on fantasy. God did not create man.....man created god!
I am so happy to see that 95% of the comments here are realizing that ROMNEY is NOT presidential material! Too many lies and hidden secrets – the guy is a loser.
Once again most everyone who writes a comment on this site show they have no idea what the truth is. Most of the time the media twists things around anyway. I never believe anything I hear or read in the news anymore
Fact: When Romney passed Romney care he told the church to shove it.
I still donʻt understand why we fall all over ourselves in this country to give "special rights" to a "minority" of people who have made a "choice" to follow a religious faith. Itʻs ridiculous. If you CHOOSE a certain lifestyle (I mean, cʻmon, faith is not genetic), there are consequences.
(Does this argument sound familiar? h how fun it is to turn the tables.)
If Romney is so religious he should pay his taxes. His Bible says to "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's."
The old GOP strategy: When they have nothing to offer of substance on the economy and foreign policy, trot out the tired old religious issues. Romney is rapidly sowing the seeds of his own dismal failure, and the GOP will end up embarrassed as usual and as they deserve to be.
It smells like......victory.
Romney is very foolish to bring up the subject of religion at all. Wait till people begin to look into his religion and wonder about what he really believes.