October 25th, 2007
05:49 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney takes on Clinton 'family values'

Watch Romney's comments on family values Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney criticized the "family values" of the Clinton presidency Thursday, saying as president he would set a better example.

"One of the ways that you help instill, if you will, family values is by having a White House be a place that demonstrates family values," the Massachusetts Republican said in a response to a question at a New Hampshire house party about how he would instill family values as president.

"And, you know, I think during the last Clinton presidency, the White House did not demonstrate that in a way that was helpful to our nation's culture," Romney added.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Romney went on to say that the president is under a "microscope," making it especially important to "live by higher standards."

"Because the world is looking at you, you're representing not only yourself but your country," he added. "The kids or America are looking at you. One piece [of instilling values] is acting the part, acting the part of higher ethical standards."

Responding to Romney's comments, top Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said, "Hillary Clinton needs no lessons on character from a man who switches his positions on a daily basis."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. RightyTighty

    Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign did not return a request for comment on Romney's remarks.

    What's to say but OUCH!!

    October 25, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Wayne, Greenville TX

    It's rather hard to know exactly where Mitt Romney stands on the issues, especially when you conside these quotes I found on http://www.romneyfacts.com. This list of quotes was put together by some Democrats in Massachusetts to show how Mitt flip-flops to suit his needs at any particular time.....

    Abortion rights

    "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard." – Boston Herald Debate, 10/29/02

    "Roe v. Wade continues to work its destructive logic throughout our society This can't continue." – Speech to the Massachusetts Citizens For Life Mother's Day Pioneer Valley Dinner, 5/10/07

    Immigration reform

    "With these 11 million people [here illegally], let's have them registered, know who they are....those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship." – Lowell Sun, 3/30/06

    "One simple rule: no amnesty. If that [Kennedy-McCain bill] is not a form of amnesty, I don't know what is." – New York Times, 6/4/07

    Gun laws

    "We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them. I won't chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety." – Romney in 2002 gov. debate, Boston Globe, 1/14/07

    "I have a gun of my own. I go hunting myself. I'm a member of the NRA and believe firmly in the right to bear arms." – Boston Globe, 1/14/07

    Amendment to ban gay marriage

    "Mitt does not support it...As far as Mitt is concerned, it goes farther than current law, and therefore it's unnecessary." – Romney spokesman, Boston Globe, 3/22/02

    "When I was Governor, we took every conceivable step within the law to stop, block or slow down this unprecedented court decision." – Speech to National Right to Life Convention, 6/15/07

    "No new taxes" pledge

    "I'm not intending to, at this stage, sign a document which would prevent me from being able to look specifically at the revenue needs of the commonwealth" – Associated Press, 3/27/02

    "Signing the pledge now sends a very clear message to those in Washington who have voted against tax relief and for tax hikes that such actions will never grow our regional and national economies." – Romney spokesman, Boston Globe, 1/5/07

    Minimum wage

    "I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation. I think the minimum wage is a good thing to have in our economy and I think it ought to be updated." – Boston Globe, 10/17/94

    "[T]he challenge with raising the minimum wage excessively is it is a hurt to those that are entering the work force, the very poor, those that are trying to get early jobs, get those first jobs." – Associated Press, 7/25/06

    Cutting Social Security

    "I don't think you go back and rewrite the contract the government has with people who've retired." – Boston Globe, 10/17/94

    "Personal accounts would be a big plus."... [Romney]also said changing the retirement age could be considered, as well as basing the Social Security cost of living adjustment on a different inflation gauge. – Union Leader, 6/7/07

    Adoption non-discrimination

    Governor Mitt Romney and a legislative leader yesterday delivered unwelcome news to the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts, who plan to seek permission from the state to exclude gay and lesbian parents from adopting children through its social service agencies. The governor said he was not authorized to give such an exemption...
    – Boston Globe, 2/17/06

    "And then another slide along the slippery slope. The Catholic Church was forced to end its adoption service, which was crucial in helping the state find homes for some of our most difficult to place children... Now, even religious freedom was being trumped by the new-found 'right' of gay marriage." – Speech to National Right to Life Convention, 6/15/07

    Stem cell research

    [Romney]endorsed embryonic stem cell research, saying the controversial science might one day help treat his wife's multiple sclerosis...."I am in favor of stem cell research. I will work and fight for stem cell research. I'd be happy to talk to [President Bush] about this, though I don't know if I could budge him an inch." – Boston Globe, 6/14/02

    "FACT: Governor Romney Opposes Using Taxpayer Money to Fund Embryo-Destructive Research." – MittRomney.com A Record of Protecting Life

    Bush tax cuts

    Governor Mitt Romney refused yesterday to endorse tax cuts at the heart of President Bush's economic program...In addition to refusing to endorse the president's tax cut, the governor surprised several people at the meeting by saying he is open to a federal increase in gas taxes. – Boston Globe, 4/11/0

    [Romney] said it was "absolutely critical" to renew tax cuts proposed by President George W. Bush. Letting them expire would result in a "massive tax increase" that would retard economic growth, Romney said.
    Detroit Free Press, 2/8/07

    Reagan Republicanism

    "I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush." – Boston Herald, 10/27/94

    "Ronald Reagan is ... my hero. ... I believe that our party's ascendancy began with Ronald Reagan's brand of visionary and courageous leadership." – Boston Globe, 1/19/07

    Desire to serve in Vietnam

    "I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam..." – Boston Herald, 5/2/94

    "I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam." – Boston Globe, 6/24/07



    So – which Mitt Romney will we be seeing tomorrow????

    October 25, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. John

    Romney thinks "family values" are having more than one wife. Polygamy is ok in his book? Sounds like a great person to talk about family values.

    October 25, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    "The kids or America are looking at you. One piece [of instilling values] is acting the part, acting the part of higher ethical standards"

    This is a highly hypocritical statement coming from a Republican- –

    I'm assuming he's using this statement to apply ONLY to sex/marriage related values and not the values of honesty, integrity, adherence to the rule of law, transparency, etc. since those have been SORELY lacking in this administration.

    October 25, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Atlanta

    As a gay man – does that mean Romney is saying he is better than me? Wow thats offensive – my family is not of high ethical standards simply because its different than tradition???

    October 25, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    So the Mittster wants to star in an "Ozzie and Harriet" remake?

    Now there's a qualification to be President!

    October 25, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. A Utah Mormon

    Romney proves once again that when one tactic fails, all a Republican needs to do is bring up past Clinton peccadilloes. If that's the best he's got, it's old and tired. Better pull something else from that bag of tricks.

    October 25, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Karen,nj

    America can't wait until this moron Mormon goes back to his wife and kids to practice his family values. He is a poster man for stupidity!

    October 25, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Kevin, Kansas City

    What a jerk. It's Hillary running, not Bill. If anything, Hillary has been an example of family values. She could've divorced her husband after what he did, but she didn't. She's forgiven him, kept the family together and they appear to be a strong couple now (and I don't think it's just because of her campaign.

    At least Bill didn't sign his family up to follow a cult that changes its beliefs every so often to appear mainline.

    October 25, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Robert, Shelton CT

    He has no real record in Mass. hence why he is attacking Clinton, and he claims Obama has no experience...Romney is a hippocrite and part of a legacy of losers.

    October 25, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Moe, NY

    Please keep your phoney "family values" to yourself. We, as American citizens have had enough of hypocritical family values from our government. Politicans raise your own families and leave others alone. You are right in one respect though..."acting the part" has been done and, obviously, badly by all the hypocritical do as I say, not as I do, phoney politicans. Stay out of American citizens family life...you do not belong there.

    October 25, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Ga Voter

    As a gay man – my family is not of high ethical standards simply because its different than tradition???

    Family? What family?? Gay marriage is not nor ever will be allowed in Georgia. And no, we do not want your ethical standards taught to our children. Period. Its not a civil rights issue, its a moral issue..

    October 25, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Mr. America - USA

    Technically Mitter is correct, BILL Clinton didn't live by his "family values." However it's a weak stance. Mr. America says: "Who cares?"

    October 25, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. pl. at the UN for a while.

    Maybe Mr Romney should be reminded of how his version of "family values" has kept women in the kitchen or out of sight for millennia.

    October 25, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Paul, Philadelphia

    I can honestly say I have a lot of respect for just about everyone in the race – Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Huckabee, Giuliani, Thompson, even little ol' Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

    But Mitt Romney stikes me as an opportunistic P.O.S., and I would be very disappointed if Republicans supported him.

    Republicans are supposed to be the party of values and morals. It would be very disappointing to see them support a guy has brazenly changed his stance on just about every social issue out there just because he is trying to woo conservative voters.

    October 25, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. Tim, Acworth, GA

    How cn you take anything Mitt says seriously. He'll say, do, spend anything to get elected. I hope the American people aren't bamboozled once again.

    October 25, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Darko, New Orleans LA

    Howard Wolfson said, "Hillary Clinton needs no lessons on character from a man who switches his positions on a daily basis."

    That's funny considering Hillary changes her posistions between campaign stops based on the target audience.

    October 25, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Ian, Canton, Oh

    Remember, Mr. Romney, that we are considering HILLARY Clinton for president, not her husband. You are implying that her husband's infidelity somehow reflects on her character. I think that every person who has ever been cheated on should take major offense to that – the "cheatee" is not to blame for the cheater's indefensible acts. In fact Mr. Romney if you actually would think before you speak, you'd realize that Hillary's ability to forgive her husband and maintain the marriage speaks volumes about her family values. In that regard she exemplifies the kind of values America wants to see in a president. She 'stayed the course'

    October 25, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Rebecca, New York City

    Romney is insensitive to criticize a woman whose husband was unfaithful by saying that she herself cannot set a good example of family values. She worked through the problem and kept her family together. Our country needs to learn that divorce is not the only answer to hardships at home. She set a wonderful example.

    October 25, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Don, Dallas TX

    Dumb-brilliant, like soap opera Melrose Place. He calculates his statements for the broadest possible appeal. And with no evidence to the contrary, save abortion, he is hot on his way to the nomination. He's the best Republicans have.

    October 25, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. jW texarkana

    and then the religious bigots(republican) voted in a coward-liar-thief and murderer who brought his woman from tex.(brown rice) sure improved family values at w-house

    October 25, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Chuck Wells

    It's laughable to hear Romney talk about family values when lying seems to be an intrinsic tool in his set of values. They call it flip-flopping, but any way you look at it, across his career Romney has consistently relied on a host of lies to promote his agenda and now his conservative values.

    October 25, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Lars, DC

    Mitt would be a better president than Hillary Clinton. Mitt has a great family and has always up held great family values. YOU ALL SOUND THREATENED because you go on the defensive so fast and you should be. GO Mitt 2008!!!

    October 25, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. E, Louisville, GA

    Howard Wolfson may think that Hillary Clinton doesn't need any lessons on character from Mitt Romney (and he may very well be right) but she certainly needs lessons regarding character and moral high-ground from somebody!

    October 25, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. x

    Family values is about more than gay marriage and abortion. If a family has both parents sent to a war for oil what does that say about family values? What does vetoing children's health care say for families?

    October 25, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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