Excerpts from Romney's Liberty address largely ignore religion
May 11th, 2012
11:37 AM ET
10 years ago

Excerpts from Romney's Liberty address largely ignore religion

(CNN) – Short portions of Mitt Romney's commencement address to the evangelical Liberty University largely skip over the topic of religion, focusing instead on the job market for recent graduates and the importance of family in developing character.

Romney is slated to deliver his address Saturday at the Lynchburg, Virginia, institution. Liberty University, which was started by Moral Majority co-founder Jerry Falwell in 1971, bills itself as the largest Christian evangelical university in the world.

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In his address, Romney will portray the economy as hostile for graduating college seniors.

"For you and so many young Americans, our current troubles can be discouraging," Romney will say, according to excerpts of the speech distributed by his campaign. "You are ready for jobs that were supposed to be ready for you. Millions wait on the day when there are jobs for everyone willing to work, and opportunities to match your hopes and your goals. But don't lose heart, because that day is coming."

In a subtle reference to his bid for the White House, Romney will say "lately I've found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches," a nod to both the length of a presidential term and the traditional number of years students spend in college.

"Let's just say that not everybody has filled these past four years with as much achievement as you have," Romney will say, an apparent knock on President Barack Obama.

Liberty has become a frequent stop for Republican politicians seeking to bolster credibility among religious conservatives. Sen. John McCain delivered the commencement address in 2006, when he was preparing to run for the GOP nomination. McCain, like Romney, was often viewed skeptically by Christian evangelicals.

McCain's address focused on broad themes, rather than narrowing in on religious ideology, but the appearance did allow McCain to target voters he might not otherwise have reached.

The excerpts released Friday by Romney's campaign cover similarly broad subject matter, delving into Romney's role as a family man.

"Maybe you've heard that Ann and I have a pretty large family, and I'm sure glad I like having grandchildren because every time I turn around there's more of them," Romney will say. "Two more arrived last week, twin boys David and William, which brings us to eighteen grandchildren we have welcomed into the world."

He will go on to relay advice from his father George, who served as governor of Michigan before running for the GOP presidential nomination in 1968.

"I asked him once, 'What was your greatest accomplishment?' Without a moment's pause, his answer was, 'Raising you four kids.' I had his example to follow, and I have never once regretted missing any experience or opportunity in business in order to be with my wife and five sons," Romney will say.

He'll continue: "Regrets usually come the other way around, from missing moments with your children that don't come again. The same holds true for time with your parents as the years fall away. Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn't one of them."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Religion
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Fred Snyder

    The public and news media are missing the boat when examining Romney's high school "pranks." The issue is not whether or not he was bullying. The issue is he is lying. I'm 68 years old and if I had ever joined a group of other students, tackled someone we though was gay, and personally cut off his hair, I WOULD REMEMBER IT. His statements, "I don't remember that" are bogus.

    May 11, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Chandra

    I the Mittster am proud of the fact that I Created more Jobs for China than China

    May 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. MsRepublican

    Could this be his Etch a Sketch mind? He is an embarrasment to the Republican party right next to the Tea Party.

    May 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. patthemick

    Neither the banker or the commuity organiser have the character to be President. They strip our civil liberties and have the gall to tell us to be grateful as illegal aliens pour across our borders. Go Ron Paul!!!

    May 11, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. gg

    this round republicans want to separate church and state. wonder why

    May 11, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Michael

    I hate obama's policies that have ruined the economy. Mitt Romney will lead us into a great recovery from the guy who forgot that we have been in a recession.

    May 11, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    Willard, the non American job creator (great for China though). Willard the outsourcer. Willard the hack barber/bully. Willard the perpetual candidate. Willard will be back as a pundit come Nov 7th.

    May 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Looking deeper into the psyche of that "boy" Mitt Romney, I hope Ann Romney wasn't suggesting that Mitt walking a sight-impaired man into a closed door was one of those "wild and crazy" things she loves about Mitt.

    Strange behavior, even for a kid.

    May 11, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Hair and clothing styles related to a counterculture (as determined by the Student Affairs Deans’ Review Committee) are not acceptable. Hair should be cut in such a way that it will not come over the ears, collar or eyebrows at any time. Ponytails for men are unacceptable. "
    -Liberty University Handbook

    May 11, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Dj Rhyme

    @Michael: listen n watch the entire video and regather your thoughts. Don't take snippets of a long video..

    May 11, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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