Republicans take detour from economic message at faith forum
March 31st, 2012
02:58 PM ET
10 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“If you want Obamacare repealed.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. Holly in CA

    Contrary to what Santorum thinks, this election is not about Obamacare. It is about the economy, out of control spending in Washington, the increasing deficit and national debt, and the ridiculous size of government. Romney is the very best candidate to tackle these issues.

    March 31, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. GaryOwen2/7

    Wow the Red Neck Right and their Taliban ideology. Oh by the way, this country was founded by Liberals for Liberals.

    March 31, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. G

    "I love mandates." – Romney

    March 31, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. fpstudio123

    Paul Ryan's a smart man. Romney IS the best chance we have of defeating Obama.

    March 31, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. dan5404

    They might as well detour from the economy, because they have no serious plan. Instead, concentrate on the extremists who will beieve their lies and try to force religion into politics. , and only about a third of people think Obama is at fault. The others blame the Republicans.

    March 31, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. fpstudio123

    Santorum thinks this election is about Obamacare. It is about so much more...the economy, the deficit and national debt, out of control spending in Washington, and the ridiculous size of government. Romney is the best candidate to address the needs of these issues.

    March 31, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Dave

    This sounds like a cratoon but its not, in 1978 the fereal Government pressured the Mormon church to allow Black Priest & The Lds declined. Then The US said, here is the deal, Black priest allowed in your cult or no TAX- EXEMPPTION. Then the obviously Quarom 0f 12 said , lets make up some stupid ass story were the dead joe smith & the dead brigham communicate with God & make up a story to the MILLIONS of members that God has noe said its ok for the brothers to serve as priest. ITS 100% TRUE

    March 31, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Faith Forum? Pro-family? Nothing coming out of Paul Ryan's mouth has anything to do with concern for common people or the teachings of Jesus – who was a champion of the poor. He's a preppie who wants to spend more of our money on Defense than the Joint Chief's of Staff needs – then calls them liars for defending their lower budget! He wants to hand Medicare over to the corporations and kill Social Security. He supports Romney because Romney is the chosen lackey for the Koch brothers and the other fat-cats. Think people! Look at this weasel's face and you'll see just another slimy politician.

    March 31, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Donkey Party

    America, stop allowing the GOP to lie to you. President Obama's Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare to the parrots), is totally derived from "conservative" ideology. Google it, please. "Obamacare" was a GOP idea, but when it's the black guy trying to bring it to us, the GOP is against it. The lies and hypocrisy from the GOP is maddening.

    March 31, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. PJ/TX

    This is exactly what is wrong with the Republican party.
    Romney cavorts with those who question his own religion, calling him a "cult" member,
    Santorum is so caught up in his own "perceived" religious piety, yet he passes judgement every day on his fellow
    human beings,
    Gingrich – well, three religious ideologies and he still hasn't learned humility or compassion.
    As for Ryan – he is still "selling bologna".
    These "men" are really mice. They accuse the President of "assault" on their religious rights, which is a lie,
    yet they "assault" women's rights every day with the small minded, petty judgements, and laws that
    invade the most private segment of women's lives.
    They would sell their soul, and some have, to be President. So what would they sell from the White House?

    March 31, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. gg

    what kept america free was keeping religion out of politics if the church ran the country,there would not be enought prison,or executioners

    March 31, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    What a bunch of loons and phonies! VOTE DEMOCRAT!

    March 31, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Ritaluisa

    Righteous Rick, Bush-lite Romney, and Pope Newt are laughing all the way to the bank (financed by the Kansas oil billionaires Koch brothers, who of course, do NOT want taxes raised as they will have to pay more). I am offended by all of the above, and as an independent voter, now think of the GOP as the party of Nixon, the corrupt, worse republican ever. At least John McCain had some integrity and dignity until he met Sarah, but now there is NO ONE to admire.

    March 31, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    Jesus Chrst would not agree with any of their hypocricy.

    March 31, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. gino

    They are all just SO full of kaka...

    March 31, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Rosslaw

    "Detour" from the economic message? What economic message?

    March 31, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Help! We are being bombarded by Rove's negative ads against President Obama, here in Florida.

    March 31, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    They only support what or who they agree with, and that is anti-American.

    March 31, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. No Way I'll Vote for Romney

    What a pathetic circus the republicans have become.

    March 31, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. zafrogzen

    When the repubs talk about "freedom of religion" they mean freedom to impose their religious views on the rest of us. The Affordable Health Care Act doesn't require them to use contraception or even pay for others' contraception - it just allows everyone to get it with their insurance, which they pay for in one way or another, even when it's through their employer.

    March 31, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. zafrogzen

    When the repubs talk about "freedom of religion" they mean freedom to impose their religious views on the rest of us. The Affordable Health Care Act doesn't require them to use contraception or even pay for others' contraception - it just allows everyone to get it with their insurance, which they pay for themselves in one way or another, even when it's through their employer.

    March 31, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Ozzie

    Pharisees in need of repentance. Keep praying, o hate-filled ones. Nothing you say or propose reminds me of the teachings or words of Jesus.

    March 31, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Thomas

    @Holly in CA
    Contrary to what Santorum thinks, this election is not about Obamacare. It is about the economy, out of control spending in Washington, the increasing deficit and national debt, and the ridiculous size of government. Romney is the very best candidate to tackle these issues.

    You must like trees , all the same hight !

    Romney is not the best the GOP has , he's the only one with enough money, and he's been running for the office for the last eight years.

    He would do a much worse job as President then Obama , Mitt owes friends and special interest a lot of Party Favors !

    March 31, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Tan Hue

    The only "assault on religious liberty" comes from these Tea/Republicans who want their and only their religious views to be legitimate as well as law. Theocracy isn't what America is about now nor what it was about in its founding days. Beware of these wolves in sheeps' clothing. Beware!

    March 31, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    "Paul Ryan's a smart man."

    If your idea of a "smart man" is someone who lies in his tax plan and fills it with economic projections that have never been sustained, then yeah. You must also think a plan that is essentially "tax cuts for the filthy rich, benefit cuts for everyone else" is "smart" too. The rest of sane Americans, however, see it as suicidal.

    March 31, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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