Republicans take detour from economic message at faith forum
March 31st, 2012
02:58 PM ET
11 years ago

Republicans take detour from economic message at faith forum

(CNN) – The three leading GOP presidential hopefuls have their disagreements, but on Saturday rallied around the role of Wisconsin, and faith voters there, in their party’s primary.

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich described the 2012 contest as pivotal, and the Obama administration as antithetical to religious freedom at an event held by the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Coalition.

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They criticized the health care reform law proposed by President Obama as an assault on religious liberty, and invoked the Declaration of Independence’s affirmation of “self-evident” truths and that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

“I believe they chose in those few words and in those principles a vision for America that would make us unique and exceptional in the world,” Romney said of the Declaration signers. “Those rights and what's associated with them, I believe, are what made America what we are. And today those rights are under attack by this administration which is one more reason we have tot to replace this administration.”

But Romney’s criticism of the president’s health law was met with skepticism from Santorum, who has called Romney the “worst Republican” to face Obama because of a health law he signed as governor of Massachusetts.

“If we make this the centerpiece - the repeal of Obamacare the centerpiece of our election - and have someone who can go out and make the arguments, because, well, I never supported those arguments ever – ever - as a public official or outside of government,” Santorum said.

“If you want Obamacare repealed. . . then we can't reply on the Supreme Court,” he continued, citing several challenges to the law which were heard by the U.S. justices this week. “We have to rely on people who stand up and fight for freedom.”

Gingrich hammered the president broadly for attempting to change “American civilization as we have known it.” The former House speaker trials Romney and Santorum in the GOP delegate count, and on Saturday acknowledged that he did not expect an easy race.

“Callista and I talked about it a long time, and we knew it would be very hard, but we decided that running for president mattered because it was an opportunity to take to the American people fundamental basic decisions about who we are and what we have to do,” Gingrich said.

The April 3 votes in Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are the next stops on the GOP campaign trail. Recent polls show an edge for Romney in the Badger State, which has 42 delegates at stake Tuesday.

At the forum, Romney reiterated a pledge to “defund Planned Parenthood” as president, a comment which Democrats sharply criticized and a Romney advisor later explained referred to federal funding for the private organization.

He also skewered Vice President Joe Biden for suggesting a world-wide minimum business tax rate would help level the globalized marketplace and told stories of “everyday,” inspirational people whom he had encountered on the campaign trail.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, recalled his own common-man roots – including past jobs flipping burgers and selling bologna – when explaining what his Wisconsin brethren should also see in Romney, who picked up Ryan’s endorsement on Friday.

“I have nothing but good things to say about these men. But when I look at the vote I have as a Wisconsinite to make on Tuesday, what goes thought my mind is, who is going to be the best president?” he said. “In my humble opinion, that person is Mitt Romney.”

Romney also stands as the best opportunity for a GOP victory against the president, Ryan said, and although the “primary has been helpful,” he suggested ongoing GOP struggle was becoming “counter productive.”

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum • Wisconsin
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Republican freaks should be kicked out of goverment.

    April 1, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  2. king

    These repubs and their freedom of religion! Is this suppose to be a gotcha statement? If they wanted freedom of religion, then why they heck they wanted to destroy the Muslim church sight at the 9/11 disaster sight. These rabid right wingers are the most anti-religious freedom folks in the world, unless its evangelistic Christianity of course. Come on, how gullible do these folks really think Americans are, even though It never seems to amaze me. I can say that America has a crisis in its people ability to differenciate the facts that they are seeing right in front of their eyes, from the fantacy crap the right wings spew. This country might be in trouble folks.

    April 1, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  3. Cindy

    Ryan is still selling bolongna in DC and his endorsement is slow poison for Willard.

    April 1, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |

    The economy keeps getting better and the GOBP wingnuts have nothing but the big goverment spending Ryan budget and Mitt McCain to force down the throats of America.

    April 1, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  5. jayburd2020

    Sadly, the GOP nomination process will soon be ending... but not the laughs! Thanks to Romney, those will go on & on. For example, enjoy this funny new YouTube video about "3 Things I've Learned from Mitt Romney." (And if you enjoy the below video, don't thank me. Thank my magnificent Mormon muse and share the mirth.)

    April 1, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  6. lgny

    "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" These are stated in the correct order.

    Life comes first. Protecting public health and safety is the central task for all governments.
    Liberty comes second. Your liberty can't deny my life.
    Pursuit of happiness comes last. I can get as rich as I can, so long as my activities do not deny others their freedom or your life rights.

    The current Republicans try to turn this upside down and make wealth the primary right.

    April 1, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  7. taylor

    A man who was tosssed out on his ears in PA and a man who cant be trusted around women and a man
    who sent thousands of jobs overseas and got rich doing it. I found a note under a rock telling me not to vote
    for romney and to start a new church.

    April 1, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  8. diridi

    quit this religion s&%$. This is 21st century. Do you guys have any brain. Romney's Bain-Capital sent millions of jobs to CHINA. He stashed millions untax money in Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Swiss. His state is 49/50 in job creation. Just be educated. Go to High School and finish high school first. idiots. Romney said "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt"–NY times. Today GM Alive, Bin Laden Dead. Romney is another form of Bush the Idiot. I mean "Idiot".

    April 1, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  9. Tony in Maine

    When wannabe dictators start howling about the enemy at the gates, you know they're losing it Either they're tenuous hold on reality or the few who once backed them because they had the snarkiest bumper stickers.

    April 1, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  10. Marie MD

    This is incredible but what is more scary is that these idiots really believe this crap!
    The flip flopper and his wife used to give money to Planned Parenthood. Not that he is going to get even near to the WH as president but what are those women supposed to do? The ones go go there for health issues and pap smears and mammograms because they can't afford going to a regular doctor?
    Oh right, according to this jackal, they can go somewhere else and if they do have a condition, like cancer, they can just die! That's the teapublikan taliban way to make sure insurance companies are not bothered by the unclean.

    April 1, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
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