August 6th, 2007
06:34 PM ET
9 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. Monica, SLC UT

    He may claim he's not running as a Mormon, but Mormon he IS, and if he ends up in the White House, you can bet church leadership will be constantly bending and whispering in his ear. It's what controls politics in Utah.

    August 6, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Here comes the dog strapper and chief Mit Romney. Can we really trust a dude who straps his cocker spaniel to the roof of his station wagon for a 12 hour trip on an interstate HWY family trip into Ontario?

    It was all documented in a documentary on the man in the late 80's. There wasn't room in the car with his family and all their stuff so he strapped the dog carrier to the roof of the car, in the searing summer heat, doing like 80mph the whole way. the dog got so scared

    Recently when it came up he even had the nerve to state that the dog really actually liked it...

    I'm not making this up, I swear. It's documented. This guy is so out of touch with reality he'd strap his dog to his car roof on the freeway, what do you think he'd do to the country?

    I'll tell you what, we'd be the dog hanging on for dear life, ears flappin' in the wind, while he was behind the wheel doing 90mph, singing hymns or something.

    Sheesh.

    August 6, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. Jacob, Upland, CA

    “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.

    You just have to rub it in his face, don't you? He just said he resents it, and CNN turns around and throws a line like that (see bold) in. That's shameful.

    August 6, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. Dave, Austin

    I'd rather vote for an athiest than for anyone poisoned by organized religion.

    August 6, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Lance, Los Angeles, CA.

    Dog Strapper and Chief?

    He'll have us strapped to the roof of his station wagon going 80 down the interstate just like he did with his cocker spaniel before you can say "John Smith carved the Golden Tablets of Mormon in his basement."

    August 6, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  6. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    🙂 Mitt Romney is Right! A Real Conservative would support the Separation of Church and State! But Religion has been such a Winning Political Issue for Republicans even better than Racism. If your religion equals greed, power, lies, war and corruption, then just give a Big Amen to Bush and Chaney, Hallelujah! 😉 Since the Republicans don’t really support any social and humanitarian issues that they actually support, they have to campaign based upon who or who can PRETEND to be a good Christian.

    August 6, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  7. S. Richard, Olathe, KS

    I'm glad to see Mitt take the gloves off once in awhile. I have leaned toward him for some time, but I used to worry that his incessant gentility could become a liability in these perilous times. I'm thrilled that he's willing to roll up his sleeves when necessary.

    August 6, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. Meister, Phoenix, AZ

    The Republican candidates are very emotional and childish, if this is all they can bicker about. It is time to support Obama or Edwards, who are talking about real issues everyday.

    August 6, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. Ryan, Provo,UT

    This is news? I think no one's commented on this because the post is so convoluted its hard to tell what its really about. Is it about Romney's heated interview? Is it another post about the Brownback spat? Is it about the Iowa straw poll? It doesn't seem to present any evidence that Romney is "pumping up the volume" as the title would suggest. I'm sorry CNN, with this and the post about Giuliani's daughter, its been a rough day at the ticker for you guys.

    August 6, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  10. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    I am tired of hearing people, as well as media, bring up Mitt Romney's Mormon faith – let's move on with it already – he's got a lot more other great qualities that we, as nation, can discuss (i.e. experienced great leader (I am the witness from MA), super intelligent, prudent, pro-life, pro-family (he supported people's petition here in MA to define marriage as union between one man and one woman), morally stable, one with family values and married with five children as opposed to other candidates with long lists of former wives, ... and good looking. What else can we ask for? For those that see Mitt Romney "flip-flopping" on issues such as abortion and gay marriage I have to say this: his is a great testimony, especially for Christian, as the one that seeks – shall find, and the one that asks for – shall receive. He himself said that he came to this conclusion after hard thinking and long meditation.

    August 6, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. James in Shanghai

    All these attacks on Mitt Romney are indicative of his campaign's strength. People attack what they perceive as a threat to their own aspirations, and Mitt Romney truly is a powerful force amongst conservative voters.

    Romney truly is the best choice for conservative voters given his personal practice of conservative values. Look at his life and the family he has raised, and that should tell you A LOT about how much he believes in his conservative message.

    If Brownback thinks he is more conservative than Romney for being pro-life longer than Romney, then I can only assume that Brownback feels Reagan was a terrible conservative as well....because Reagan was pro-choice at one point as well.

    August 7, 2007 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  12. Stu Wilson, Green Bay, WI

    Hasn't anyone caught on yet! They (politicians) all lie, all mangle the truth, twist the tale, tweak the answer, to whatever audience they are addressing . . . it's all a sham – and America has fallen for it. We have no more people of integrity – they cannot afford to run – not because they do not have the money. Simply because they cannot afford to be castigated and discounted for their higher values – usually by the very people whom they call fellow candidates.
    I feel for Mr. Romney – he probably was an honest man at one time, who let the sway of politics blur his sense of integrity. Now he is just a politician. Let the lies continue and continue and continue, ad nauseam. And unfortunately, let America continue to believe and believe and believe. Unbelievable . . .

    August 7, 2007 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  13. Wynter

    Now this promises to be the Albatross around his neck. How does a candidate run a campaign and "not" have it in some part be about his faith? I can see where being a Latter-day Saint can be a hinderance to someone in politics when there are so many restrictions put on one from the church. But if Sen. Reid can get to be the senate majority leader then I suppose there is some hope left for Romney. But Reid only has to answer to the people in Utah where Romney will be asking for support from across the country to be president. That I fear is where he will find it much more difficult.

    Telling it like I see it,
    Wynter

    August 7, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  14. Travis

    If you haven't watched the whole interview, it is excellent. Romney showed great composure as he trounced Jan Michelson on each issue. Jan Michelson showed no class in assuming because he had some pamphlet, manual or something that he knew more about Romney's church than Romney did. Even when the conversation got heated Romney could very easily express emotion, then quickly jump to a logical argument. Excellent job!

    I can't get over Jan Michelson trying to tell Romney that he should be kicked out of the Mormon church for being pro-choice in the past. What an imbecile!

    August 7, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. ken, San Bernadino CA

    Romney's "the man!". Get used to the name of our next president! Mitt Romney!

    August 7, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Mark, Fayetteville, NC

    Mitt Romney is a great candidate hands down. As is Ron Paul, as is Obama, as is Edwards. Let's not focus on his faith for crying out loud. And people are buffoons to think his church leadership will have his ear. his principles will dictate his actions not the LDS leaders. Nice to see he totally outclassed this Mickelson.

    August 7, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Anyone who insults Romney because of his faith is a bigot.

    You are the SAME as those who hate Lieberman because he is a "Jew", Obama because he is "Black", JFK because he was "Catholic", etc.

    Or does YOUR America no longer have freedom of religion?

    August 7, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. TC Plainfield, IL

    Mitt Romney is a "great candidate" to run against in 2008. He will prove to be the Republican version of John Kerry.

    August 7, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Devo, Fairfax VA

    Monica,SLC UT wrote:
    "He may claim he’s not running as a Mormon, but Mormon he IS, and if he ends up in the White House, you can bet church leadership will be constantly bending and whispering in his ear. It’s what controls politics in Utah."

    People said similar things about Kennedy, Catholicism and the Pope in 1960. Did the Pope ever "whisper" in Kennedy's ear? If he did, the country certainly didn't know about it.

    It's good for our leaders to have a moral framework - whether through organized religion or not. It's bad when the people won't take our leaders seriously because of misconceptions they may have about a candidate's religious beliefs.

    Separate church and state and think about what is best for yourself and your country, not how you can attack someone based on their faith.

    My concern is that Romney flipped on a position to cater to a group that has truly hurt our nation in the last 8 years. It's okay to say that you support the free will of women to choose what happens to them and their bodies, while still opposing abortion.

    There doesn't need to be a law against abortion - there needs to be equality for women in the home, the workplace, and society in general so that no woman will ever choose to have an abortion again.

    August 7, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Colin, Milwaukee WI

    I really don't know what the big issue is about Romney's faith. I guess the same people that de-ride Romney about his faith are the ones that didn't like JFK because he was a Catholic or like Lieberman because he's a Jew.

    What I find most interesting is the evangelicals that dislike the Jews so much fail to recognize that in order for them to have their beloved Rapture & Ends of Days, they'll need the Jews to reclaim Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple of Solomon.

    August 7, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Vor, Salt Lake City, UT

    Jacob from Upland,
    Yeah, I actually started shaking my head when I read that. I'm glad someone else pointed it out. Seriously, shameful reporting. CNN doesn't even try to hide their bias, do they?

    August 7, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Jennifer Des Moines IA

    I am tired of hearing people, as well as media, bring up Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith – let’s move on with it already – he’s got a lot more other great qualities that we, as nation, can discuss (i.e. experienced great leader (I am the witness from MA), super intelligent, prudent, pro-life, pro-family (he supported people’s petition here in MA to define marriage as union between one man and one woman), morally stable, one with family values and married with five children as opposed to other candidates with long lists of former wives, … and good looking. What else can we ask for? For those that see Mitt Romney “flip-flopping” on issues such as abortion and gay marriage I have to say this: his is a great testimony, especially for Christian, as the one that seeks – shall find, and the one that asks for – shall receive. He himself said that he came to this conclusion after hard thinking and long meditation.

    Posted By Val Davydov, Agawam, MA : August 6, 2007 11:20 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with you...I am LDS, and this constant bringing up of Mitt Romney being "Mormon" or LDS is starting to irritate alot of us. He chose a faith, just as many in the US and other countries have chosen. There are Catholics, Methodists, Buhddists, Jewish, and goodness knows what else out there nowindays.

    I'm tired of this becoming Faith based...what should matter is that he believes in God...and this country.

    VOTE ROMNEY!!!!! I personally will be at the Iowa Straw Poll and hope to see everyone else there!

    August 7, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. NS, New York

    Anyone who insults Romney because of his faith is a bigot.

    You are the SAME as those who hate Lieberman because he is a “Jew”, Obama because he is “Black”, JFK because he was “Catholic”, etc.

    Or does YOUR America no longer have freedom of religion?
    Posted By Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca : August 7, 2007 12:15 pm
    -------------
    Jon, I've read a lot of what you have posted on various threads here, and disagreed with almost all of it, but I have to give you credit for this one- you've hit the nail squarely on the head.

    August 7, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Liz, SD, CA

    So Mickelson agrees with Mormon doctrine? He's a Mormon maybe, or just really wants to be but is scared? Mr. Romney is for real, I can appreciate that. We'll get our tax dollars worth with him GO MITT!

    August 7, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. Terra, San Francisco, CA

    As much as the campaign for Senator Romney would like to separate his religion from his potential role as President of the United States, there are several serious concerns that need to be addressed.

    Although most of the focus of Romney’s Mormon religious beliefs have revolved around the abortion issue (and how he flip-flopped after using the pro-choice position for political gain in the very liberal state of Massachusetts), there are many other extremely important other factors that should also be considered.

    Mormon’s do not allow women to hold any office of power or decision. They are not believed to have the power to heal, nor do they even have the right to give public blessings, baptisms, or any other religious role. How can Romney be a strong member of this church and its beliefs, and at the same time fight for equality of women in the work place, our schools and in our government? If he believes in the Mormon Church’s position that the woman’s role is in the home, how will he support and view all of the women who hold very powerful positions in the White House and around the world?

    Mormons believe that being gay is a sin, and gay and lesbians are not allowed to become members of the Mormon faith. How can he, as a strong member of this church and its beliefs, resolve this issue to provide fairness in his obligations to the gay and lesbian community? His argument has been that he fought for gay rights as Senator, but he flip-flopped, and in the end, made sure that gay marriage remained illegal in the state of Massachusetts. He did the same thing with this issue as the abortion issue: he used an initial liberal position for political gain only. In the Mormon faith, abortion is a considered a sin so abominable that it is worthy of member excommunication. It would seem impossible for him to be bipartisan on these issues given his strong religious opposition to them.

    Mormon’s believe that in the after-life, husbands and wives become gods and goddesses, where men take on more than one wife in order to produce more celestial spirit children, and to also compensate for the inequity in the smaller number of men who achieve exaltation to the highest kingdom of heaven. How does Romney, as a strong member of the Mormon Church and its beliefs, resolve this with the fact that here on earth, polygamy is considered criminal? How will he resolve, as president of the United States, the vast differences between the laws governing our country from the contradictory laws that govern the heaven he believes in?

    So I pose the question to Senator Romney personally – how do you expect voters to separate your religion from your campaign when your religion is actively fighting against everything our country has found so very hard to achieve? How can you realistically say you truly support the foundation of what our country was built upon – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – when your faith takes away rights from women, gays and lesbians and even from the majority?

    August 7, 2007 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
1 2