August 6th, 2007
06:34 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney pumps up the volume

Romney has come under fire on the eve of the Republican straw poll in Iowa.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney appears to be pumping up the volume, just days before a crucial Republican straw poll in Iowa. The former Massachusetts governor tops the latest polls of Iowa Republicans, and possibly because of his poll numbers, Romney’s fending off new attacks on his evolution on abortion.

“I’m not here to discuss a religion,” said Romney on a conservative talk radio show in Des Moines Thursday morning. But when host Jan Michelson went to a commercial break, accusing Romney of distancing himself from his Mormon faith when it comes to abortion, things got heated.

"I don't like coming on the air and having you go after me and my church,” said Romney.

Michelson responded, saying, "I'm not going after your church; I agree with your church!"

"I'm not running as a Mormon, and I get a little tired of coming on a show like yours and having it all about Mormon,” Romney replied.

"See, I don't mind about it being all about that," Mickelson explained.

"I do. I do," responded Romney, who’s hoping to become the first Mormon elected President of the United States.

Romney’s also facing increased attacks from rival Republican White House hopefuls. Sam Brownback’s campaign’s been sending Iowa voters a taped message from the senator from Kansas on Romney’s abortion stance. Brownback stood by his message when questioned about it Sunday at a GOP presidential debate in Iowa, saying “there’s one word that describes that ad and its ‘truthful’.”

Romney fired back, saying “I get tired of people that are holier-than-thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have.”

But the fight between the two candidates continued on Monday, when Brownback appeared on Michelson’s talk radio program. Brownback told conservative listeners that "facts are very stubborn things. Governor Romney has been pro-choice. He's supported a pro-choice position."

Romney addressed his conversion on abortion during Sunday’s debate. When asked what was his greatest mistake, Romney said, “From a political standpoint and a personal standpoint, the greatest mistake was when I first ran for office, being deeply opposed to abortion but saying I support the current law, which was pro-choice and effectively a pro-choice position. That was just wrong.”

Romney’s built up a strong campaign operation in Iowa. Twenty-six percent of likely Republican caucus goers support Romney in an ABC News-Washington Post poll released Sunday. That’s twelve points ahead of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who’s in second place. “Romney has very strong coalitions with evangelicals, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire, and he’s done a good job reaching across all faiths and he’s a power to be reckoned with,” says non-aligned GOP strategist Leslie Sanchez.

All of this is playing out just days before the crucial Republican straw poll in Ames, Iowa this Saturday. Rivals Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain are all skipping the event, and Romney is favored to score a major victory.

“What we know about the Iowa straw poll is that it attracts the most conservative elements of the Republican Party. The person that finishes first can really hold the mantle of being a consensus conservative, and Mitt Romney is expected to do very well there,” says CNN Political Analyst Amy Walter, who’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Political Hotline.

If Romney wins big on Saturday, it could help shield him, at least for now, from the attacks on his changing stance on abortion.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: Iowa • Mitt Romney • Sam Brownback
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Tonya, Fairfax VA

    You go, Iowa! Show the rest of the country who's best to lead the US. Mitt Romney is the man and you guys get to the stage first. Comments about vacationing with the dog, are you kidding? He didn't have air conditioning. My my, showing your age and naivity. Most people in the world did not grow up with air conditioning and we seem to be fine. That dog was safer on the top of the car in the carrier than he would have been riding in the car. And you can't imagine that either, I bet.

    August 7, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. Daniel Peterson, Orem, UT

    Monica from Salt Lake City is absolutely right. The Mormon Church runs everything in the theocratic state of Utah.

    They're so devious that they even got Rocky Anderson - an alcohol-guzzling, hard Left, ex-Mormon ACLU lawyer - "elected" mayor of Salt Lake City.

    August 7, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  3. MBennett, Portland, Maine

    One of the primary reasons that Romney isn't in the lead in the national polls (but leads soundly in Iowa and New Hampshire) is because this is the garbage our national media pays attention to. Brownback's campaign is dead. He has no money. His only way to get attention at this point it to attack a man running a far better campaign than he.

    It's a shame, as Romney has expressed some truly great ideas and talks policy more than any candidate on either side of the aisle. His healthcare plans was revolutionary in Mass. It still needs some work, but it even includes a clause that doesn't FORCE you buy health insurance (just have money in an interest bearing account that the state can access if you decide to skip out on your bills). He addresses the issues most urgent if the US is going to compete with the 21st-century. It amazes me, for instance, that our nation prides itself on capitalism when our corporate taxation rate is lower than ONLY Germany and Canada. No wonder businesses are going overseas... And are you ever going to hear a guy like Obama or like Brownback addressing the shortage of engineers produced in this country and how than affects our industry? Yeah, right...

    The man is articulate, speaks well on his feet, knows his foreign policy, and has lived a life of family. He's aboslutely the guy I want to see leading this nation.

    August 8, 2007 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  4. Gary from GOT A CLUE, USA er ESTADOS UNIDOS if Joe Lieberman had his way

    Has anyone here actually looked at the mormon religion? The history? They're founding beliefs? It's not Christian. Not even close. Not that it should scare you that they believe that Jesus and Lucifer were alien brothers. He's distancing himself because it's an embarrassing although very rich crowd. Google it, YOUTUBE it, whatever just look beneath the surface and you'll see why everyone is making it a big deal. Be informed and then leave your comments next time. By the way, separation of church and state keeps the churches' money out of the government's hands. It's not for any other reason. The church elites wanted it that way. Hell, even Homer Simpson knows that.

    August 8, 2007 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  5. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    Mitt Romney is awesome and no amount of slanted media bias will change that.

    August 8, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. Norm, Mesa, AZ

    We are trying to vote for a presidential candidate who will make/keep America safe, control spending, and address America's interests at home and abroad so our children will have opportunities for a good life. Mitt Romney has demonstrated in the private sector and in the government sector an ability to lead in all those areas. Romney's religion has obviously influenced his personal choices to be honest, to work hard, to value his family more then he values a dollar. But Romney's religion has NOT played a role in governing or leading his constituents. The "Mormon Church" can not be in control of every Mormon's political decision or Harry Reid would not be the ranking Senate Democrat and Senate Orrin Hatch a leading Republican. People, Orrin Hatch voted (wrongly in my opinion) in favor of the Stem Cell Research that Governor Mitt Romney is opposed to! Does that sound like the Mormon Church tells Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney what to do? Reid, Hatch and Romney are individuals who are trying to lead this nation to the best of their abilities. I completely agree with Mitt Romney and I fully support him, not because of his chosen religion but because of his record and proven value. If Romney has changed on abortion so be it. When I was a kid I had to make a choice also. I happen to make the correct choice at a younger age the Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney said he made his choice when he first had to decide to take life for research purposes or to protect life from research requests. That seems like a good time to choose. We may say we are for capital punishment, but when our finger is on the "kill" button most of us would search our souls deeply before we flip the switch. Romney searched his soul and chose life. That decision shows me that his personal faith aligns with me. I will take the convert who chose life when the chips were down and life was on the line. So I am for Romney because his track record in business and as Governor aligns with my values. I also support Mitt Romney because he has demonstrated a great ability to analyze situation and make correct decisions. I have great confidence that Mitt Romney will carefully review every situation to protect me and our country's interest here or overseas. After watching the Katrina debacle and Boston's multibillion dollar "Big Dig Tunnel" collapse, I want Mitt Romney working to protect me. I think Boston drivers have more confidence in their tunnel ceiling then New Orlean residence have in current hurricane safeguards.

    August 8, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Dr J, Everett, WA

    I take exception to some of the comments of Terra. My wife is relief society president, the women's organization of the church, and she makes a lot of decisions and influences a lot of people. She tells me what to do most of the time. Because women are stronger than men in a lot of ways, the men need the advantage of leading in the Mormon church so they don't entirely get left in the dust by the women. Mitt's wife also doesn't seem to fit the mold of an oppressed woman.

    Gays and lesbians can be members of the church- my neighbors are lesbians and they are members, but we do try what we can to help them see that this is not the best way to live, as much as we can, but we are friends.

    Yes I believe that those who receive the word of God are gods as Jesus said in John 10:30-36. But I don't know of any Mormons who have engaged me in conversation about what the afterlife will be like- this seems to be Terra's own conception of what goes on. I also don't think that Abraham and Jacob (polygamists) are criminals. I also don't think that Isaac, who had only one wife, will be inferior to Abraham and Jacob. Trying to be like Jesus, which is what Mormons think about on the subject of becoming like God, is not a bad thing.

    Also Romney used to be a governor. He was never a senator.

    I'm writing this just so people know that Mormons can defend themselves and that the church isn't a fraud like some persons portray. This doesn't prove that any of this is true, but reasonable people can believe in it.

    August 8, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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