December 4th, 2007
10:00 AM ET
15 years ago

Romney: Religion address won't be 'a JFK speech'

CNN's John King takes a look at Romney's upcoming speech.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Monday his upcoming speech about religion is not "a JFK speech" to ease concerns about his Mormon faith, but called the subject an important one in the campaign.

"I've long anticipated that at some point, I'd be talking about the role of religion in a free society," the former Massachusetts governor told reporters. "That's what I'll be talking about."

Romney's campaign announced Sunday that he would give a speech on "Faith in America" on Thursday at former President George H. W. Bush's presidential library in College Station, Texas. Though the topic evokes the 1960 speech to Southern Baptist leaders given by John F. Kennedy, who became the first Roman Catholic president, Romney said that's not what he has in mind.

"I'm not going to be giving a JFK speech," Romney said. "He gave the definitive speech on discrimination relating to a political campaign, and what he said makes sense to me. I'm going to be talking about the role of religion and faith in America, in a free society."

However, he added, "I certainly will answer some questions related to how my own faith will inform my presidency."

Full story

- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King contributed to this report

Filed under: Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Hooligan, Everywhere, America

    Good for Romney.

    He's no JFK, and knows it!

    December 4, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |

    what a suprise a speach on religion right when huckabee is gaining ground in the polls. have the american people become so dumbed down that this type of strategy works???? i guess so, bush got elected twice.

    December 4, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Rodney Dallas TX

    Don't get your hopes up people who want answers...I'm sure it will be the typical political speech where alot of side stepping will take place. No direct answers will be given and you can guarantee, they questions have already been asked and an answer been prepared. They questions you really want answered will not make the cut. Romney will not make the cut either.

    December 4, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. nevadamuley Las Vegas, Nevada

    This guy is just nut job.

    His religion is a cult and he is an active participant.

    He is from a family who has and continues to practice plural marriages, so come on, get real!

    Mitt Romney is the consumate FLIP FLOPPER who would sell his soul to the devil for the Presidency.

    And how many times can this WANNA BE envoke Ronald Regan's name...Reagan would be the first in line to call this guy a LOOSER!

    Mitt, you're not JFKish, nor are you even remotely Reagan-esk!


    December 4, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. summus

    Since he isn't going to talk about the specifics of what Mormons believe in comparison to other Christians why even make a big deal about this- it sounds like he is just going to continue to say the same things he has always said like "Jesus Christ is my savior".

    December 4, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Charles, New Hope, Pa

    Mitt, we don't care if you are a Mormon or a MORON! I think the latter probably applies.

    December 4, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Bill, Albany, New York

    I find it amusing that Romney decries religious bigotry against his faith but he, other Republicans and the Religiou Right have no problems engaging in the same behavior against Jews, Muslims, Atheists and Theists. Then many on the right expect their candidates to wear their religion on their sleeve becasue we all know that no matter how much experience you have as a leader if your not a Fundamentalist you have no business being a National leader.

    December 4, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Cat, Costa Mesa, CA

    I think this is a good move. It's funny how America screams for him to justify his religion, or at least not be so "secretive" about it, yet when he does speak, everyone chimes in that he should focus on politics and not religion...AMERICA MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!

    The fact of the matter is, he an excellent candidate with the best record for the GOP nomination. He has the best family values of any other candidate, and where does that come from???? Perhaps his Mormon faith?? Yup! Mormons teach love, kindness, and respect for others. Would that be a terrible thing in a president?

    December 4, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. kathe oakland california

    Hate to tell you this Gov but religion has no place in Politics at all especially the way this government operates with its lies, imorality. So why do you think I even care about whether you are a Mormon or not? I am not interested in your religious views and I think it is a lot of nerve for you to compare yourself to JFK. Not even close pretty boy. I am black, an American, and a BAPTIST. I lived in Michigan when you Roms were King – you did nothing for poor and black folks but try to force out of the City so you could re-build and bring back whites into Detroit with overpriced homes – I know about you, not whether you are a Mormon or not.

    December 4, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. T. Tim, Lodi, WI

    "...talking about the role of religion and faith in America, in a free society." To begin with, America is NOT a theocracy. And it should read, the role of
    "religions" NOT "religion." Far too many people here assume the singular and not the plural.

    December 4, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    That's a great idea. At least he won't be like Huckabee telling everyone he is God's chosen candidate and that his rise in the Iowa polls is by divine intervention. Just wait until people find out that Arkansas's taxes tripled while he was governor and he offers tuition breaks to illegal immigrant children. There isn't enough money to go around for tax payer's children. Huck may enjoy a short surge, but as soon as people start looking at his real records, he's out of there, or there will not be a Republican president in 2008.

    December 4, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. redbeard

    what amazes me about any politican who claims faith or religion in any shape form or fashion
    is that few, very few are concerned or even seem to care about countries that torture & imprision & kill any believers in said "christianity"

    try going to about any country in the Middle East with a bible and see what happens!

    How about China?


    but yet will shovel billions toward them

    seems real hypicritical beyond belief or words– I guess it is ok to just ignore these things

    but still I am interested in jobs & America
    and jobs coming back to America then any rhetoric or double talk or look at me I am religious

    the person who has America's best interest & track record gets my vote
    are you listening candidate?

    December 4, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Nancy, Dalllas, TX

    Americans need to move beyond their 19th century attitudes toward Mormonism and look at the strengths, successes and character of Mitt Romney. The overfocus on religion is pathetic. How about considering how the man would run the country?? Here is a cadidate without the baggage of Rudy or Hillary, with tremendous success in business and state government, who has appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle and who would be good for EVERYONE. Why oh why do we insist on training a spotlight on nonessential issues like the cadidate's religion when what really matters about a cadidate – his ability and expertise – hardly gets mentioned? The media does voters such a disservice by not covering the important things while highlighting things that really don't matter in selecting the best-qualified candidate. We should be so fortunate as to have Mitt Romney in office.

    December 4, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  14. Aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    My fellow americans my guttural New England accent doesn't make me JFK. After all if it wasn't for John Smith we would have never gone to the moon. HIs wisdom combined with our crazy indian dream salamanders. Who needs drugs or alcohol when you have polygamist sex cults.

    December 4, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    Since it always seems to come up - and always seems to invite a storm of name-calling and charges of bigotry or intolerance, can anyone stand just one more premptive comment on whether or not Mormonism is a "Christian" belief system or not? Something, perhaps, that may help people understand just why so many people are inclined to disagree?

    All right, then, here goes:

    Most orthodox, denominational Christians today would consider Mormonism to be "Christian" to the same degree that Mormonism itself considers all other organized denominations to be acceptable before God.

    All of them. All Catholics, all Protestants, Judaism, Islam, etc. Every single one…

    In case you didn't realize it, the answer is: null. It is Mormonism itself that FIRST declared upon its founding "all other churches" to be corrupt and of the Devil at worst, incomplete and deluded at best — and only the "Restoration" as provided by Joseph Smith was declared capable of extending salvation to mankind. That position has been moderated by outward behavior toward others over time, but it has never fundamentally changed.

    So all you well-meaning but not particularly religious folks who seem to just want everyone to be "nice" to each other, please don't call others narrow-minded or bigoted unless you truly understand where they may be coming from. The response of non-Mormon believers to Mormon teachings is simply an honest reaction to what has been dealt to them.

    December 4, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. Daniel, WA

    Honestly, I don't think Mitt Romney is excited to do this, but feels it is better to at least address his faith and how it will affect him if elected President, for a couple reasons...

    America leaves him little choice, ether it is "shut up about your religion, focus on the issues", or "are you crazy you can't vote for this Mormon...their all nut jobs!"

    I think most people, as is usually the case with alot of these issues, know almost nothing about his religion except rumors or they can't grasp why Mitt's camp feels this is necessary.

    I think Mitt wants to give whomever decides to listen some information & a sense for what part the Mormon religion plays in his life order to allow him to more easily focus on important issues in the future. Essentially helping lots of skeptical people realize the type of person he is and what he can do for our country, and that Mormons are far from "crazy nut jobs".

    I don't think this is meant to be a time for Mormon-haters to have their crazy rumors confirmed or necessarily denied, but I am sure many will try.

    Lets at least try to understand the situation.

    December 4, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  17. Karen Houston TX

    I support Mitt Romney.
    Mitt 2008!

    December 4, 2007 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  18. Marc, Lafayette CA

    "Mormons teach love, kindness, and respect for others. Would that be a terrible thing in a president?"

    Posted By Cat, Costa Mesa, CA : December 4, 2007 1:36 pm

    That is true...unless you are African-American of course. Mormons believe that Dark skin color and African features are a curse from God and teach that people of African descent are second class citizens. They forbade African Americans from becoming priests and from many of the “temple blessings” until 1978, well after the civil-rights movement.

    Here is a quote from one of their most highly regarded “Prophets” Brigham Young (as in BYU: Brigham Young University…the Mormon college)

    "You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race-that they should be the "servant of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion."

    Yes Cat, that would be a terrible thing in a president…

    December 5, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. vtercell, just wanterin' around in America

    I used to have a dog named Nixon. He was a good old dog, who would answer to his name whenever anybody'd call him. I miss that dog.

    But nobody I knew ever made the mistake of thinking he was really the President. He was still just a dog.

    December 5, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  20. Brian Gorham, Jacksonville, Florida

    If religion and state are to be separated, then why is the highly contested Bible used to 'swear the truth on'. Why don't we use an instrument like the constitution or a symbol like the flag to place ones hand on??

    December 6, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |