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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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“If you want Obamacare repealed.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. Blue

    President Obama is not the one talking about religion, and he does not want to take anyone's freedoms away. If you want to live in a place where rights are taken away, please come to Tennessee. Our Legislataive Branch is taking everything away. We have a wimp as a governor and a Legislatiave Branch that is in total control (R) and they have gone nsts in touching and taking everyone's life away.

    March 31, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. lili

    Oh we are back to "we are the only true christians " Imagin they stopped calling each other liers long enough to act like they give a damn. Clowns every one and if faith based people believe this garbage then even God cant help them Obama 2012

    March 31, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. lili

    maybe mitt will have a vision and he will allow for womens health and insurance. You never know Mormons have been know to have visions befor like the one allowing black into the church. Obama 2012 Move forward

    March 31, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. CA Cowgirl

    @Holly: Glad you don't represent the majority of us in California. The guy is a pathetic freakin' way would anyone with half a brain vote for Robot Romney He is a shameless fan trying to relate to the middle class. And when he wears those jeans, what a joke!

    March 31, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Blindersoff

    "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
    to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
    to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
    Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter -
    when you see the naked, to clothe him,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58:6-7)

    March 31, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Bootstomper

    Faith forum for antiquated old white guys. If ypu disagree with these guys or even try to compromise your branded as a socialist.

    March 31, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    The only religion the GOP wants freedom for is their own. Any other comes under their repression.

    March 31, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. brianna

    I wonder if Santorum called any blacks present the "N word" like he did Obama?

    March 31, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  9. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Ryan apparently never left a portion of his "common man" roots. He's still selling bologna!

    March 31, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    not all but some of the GOP like to use religion as a tool of control and fear to keep their rabid base in line. They don't practice what they preach and have little problem doing things like passing judgement and in some cases downright lying on the president or taking what he has said of of context for their own political gain. You would think only Republicans believe in God and the others are all atheists doomed to fire and brimstone. They do NOT have the corner on religion although you would think they did the way they hide behind it.

    March 31, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    History Lesson: Roger Williams was expelled from Massachusetts Colony because he did not believe that Church and State should be one. He was right. These folks really need to pay attention to history.

    March 31, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. Mr. Moderate

    Interesting how the founding fathers said "all men are endowed by their CREATOR". If they meant God they would have said God. One's creator can be whatever a person believes. To many, their creator is the mother and father.

    March 31, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    What is it about the separation of church and state that the GOP/Tea Party doesn't understand?

    March 31, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. John the Historian

    Romney is the blueprint for Obama's health care plan. Forcing people to buy health care instead of having national health care that works. Even Margaret Thatcher would not touch national health care in England. Romney is just a Mormon cult follower. Yeah Jesus Christ preached to the American Indians in Utah around 600 AD. Yeah polygamy is cool. Romney is the true flip flopper. Why vote for the Christian Right.

    March 31, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. KMBR

    Hypocrites – all of them. Jesus would cast the whole crew out of his temple.

    March 31, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  16. Reggie from LA

    Suddenly they got religion!! That means they should care about everybody. That includes those folks in Wisconsin they're pandering to right? Or will they ALL coalesce around WHO they should care about. Religion has amplified many of it's own problems over the years and now this come-to-Jesus campaign has given hypocrites a soap box and a whuppin' stick. They are basically beholden to the religious Right and are paralyzed by the churches (and Grover Norquist's) influences.

    March 31, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  17. packerfans

    Vote for Mitt Romney who can save America!!

    March 31, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |

    Peace will return to America in about twenty years when the "hate" generation of gray beards are dead. Peace Out!

    March 31, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  19. Squigman

    Everybody: Raise your right arm, extend your entire hand, and repeat the following chant. (Pick the chant of your choice), and follow with blind abandon. It worked for a bunch of malcontents in the early thirties, maybe it'll work now. Your group seems to have the same amount of brain cells. It should be easy for you to emulate your ancestors.

    March 31, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  20. Gfoos

    "Morning' Ya'll! I got started off right today with some biscuits and some cheesy grits!"..."I like to fire people!"..."The trees are the right height here!"..."I like mandates!"..."I have friends that own NASCAR teams!"..."Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs!"... THANK YOU GOP!!!

    March 31, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. steven harnack

    Wow! So the Republican candidates went to the Faith and Freedom Coalition to spread blatant lies! They all know intellectually and on a gut level that President Obama poses absolutely no threat to the religious freedom of Americans, just as they all know that mandated health insurance was and is a conservative proposal. Romney especially knows this as it is exactly what he signed into law in Mass.. How can anyone listen to these liars and not get nauseous?

    March 31, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  22. KO

    They have "faith" in a system that awards greed and punishes the people on the fringes of society. The Republicans are about as far away from the true spirit of the Gospels and the Sermon on the Mount as possible. They are the modern day pharisees that Jesus labeled as hypocrites.

    April 1, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  23. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Religion is really helping the economy teapublician mormans.

    April 1, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  24. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Freaks who who will never be elected!!!!!!

    April 1, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  25. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    We don't care about religion you republician freaks.

    April 1, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
1 2 3