Excerpts from Romney's Liberty address largely ignore religion
May 11th, 2012
11:37 AM ET
9 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. jake

    And if I'm elected President, I will make sure that all universities teach bullying and methods of bullying like grabbing others and cutting their hair. But not to worry, bullying in schools are just harmless pranks, nothing to worry about. I also think that the media has made bullying a scapegoat with all kinds of wierd stories, most being fabricated by them.

    This man is NOT fit to be President folks, anyone that engages in that kind of bullying crosses the line that seperates a prank from an assault. But the gall of this man to say "he can't remember this" is beyond words. How on earth can this man NOT remember this, but remembers NOT targeting this student because he was gay. Selective memory. I'm sure strapping the dog to the car roof for 12 hours was also "harmless" and a prank too. Too bad the victim of this has since passed away. I'm sure he didn't think it was harmless or a "prank". He may not be able to speak on his behalf, but those that saw it can and have. Shame on this man who continues to make light of bad decisions and bad behavior, hurting many in the process and who truly thinks he is Presidential material. What else is there Mitt that you conveniently don't remember. The truth will come out, just wait.

    May 11, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Shardik

    The religious right must be crying themselves to sleep at night, now that Romney is their *only* hope!

    May 11, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Conservative evangelical GOP[ers should worry....sounds like Romney is trying to move towards the center and ignore hot button social issues.. Romney is doing one of his famous flip flops.

    May 11, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Carrissa

    I am the mittster & I love me some Voter Surpression!

    May 11, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. jake

    He thinks of life in "four year stretches". That tells you all you need to know about Mitt...his ego. This guy will run for President until he dies of old age. This is the one thing that has eluded him...the power of being President. What a loser and clown.

    May 11, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Carrissa

    The moment after Mitt assualts someone for being Gay, Ring, Ring, yea Daddy rich Mormon here, Hi Daddy Rich Mormon, I just did a funny & hurt a Gay Man, Im Proud of you Mitt, We here at LDS Headquarters Dispise these types. Now son get in My Helicopter & & come home so we can Fly you to France. Thanks Daddy Rich Momon. Its Easy to be a Draft Dodger with your Moneys support!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Carrissa

    Ata Girl Mitt, Right back at your Coward Self, Its time to turn the tides & ask if you will lose the pretty Skirt & go on Meet the Press & Fight these allegations & a thousand more. No I cant do that David, Why not Mr Personality??? Caus I gave Gretta & Let you Heart Not be troubled Exclusive rights to my Gimme a Kiss Interview tour 2012. They bake me cookies & I get to see Dick Morris get sent in Via Crane, Its a real hoot & then me & Karl get together for a Little me Lovin Voter Surpression Pow – Wow & I share my Dont go there list & we make out a bit then its the pickin of straws for the Exbasterating whoopin of that Fair & Ballanced Interview. & then the audience Throws Up.

    May 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Independant Texan

    Just what our founders envisioned-– a Mormon Bishop as President.

    May 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Independant Texan

    Just another draft dodger

    May 11, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    ""lately I've found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches,""

    Must be why he forgot about harassing that kid back in high school.

    May 11, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Dave

    It is really funny how the liberals are portraying things. If Romney brings up religion, he is not keeping a separation between church and state. If Romney does not bring up religion, he is then ridiculed in articles like this. Can the biased media be so blatant? I guess so, since they are bringing up Romneys past mistakes but completely gloss over Obama's confessions that he bullied a girl and used illicit drugs exuberantly (see his book). Give me a break. Also, Carrissa needs to take some more diversity classes.

    May 11, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. sandra

    I was at a basketball gane a few days back, Yea I think ILL Buy them & move them & call them The Bain Bejing Celtics.. Yea Thats the Ticket!!1

    May 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Andrea Sharp

    Mitt Romney don't think people can't see through you. You are camelian.

    May 11, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Mike

    Hey Jake,
    I wonder what the little girl whom Obama shoved in his youth (as reported in his own book) thinks about bullying. Oh, wait...my bad! I forgot this is CNN: where standards are not applied equally to different candidates. Sorry.

    May 11, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    I would have stayed home if we had a lying cultist speaker at my graduation.

    He can't be trusted. aLook at how he bullied all the others in the primaries. Shame on him. Shame on him. And he WILL bully the weakest U.S. citizns - it shows.

    May 11, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. anagram_kid

    Amatre vs Businessman,
    Just a thought, you might want to look into learning how to spell the words you use in your screen nameā€¦ It is pretty pathetic when you insult someone and cannot even spell the derogatory term correctly.

    May 11, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Does Deputy Doublethink EVER talk substantively about the issues and his positions on them and proposed solutions for them? Not a single thing quoted in this article was relevant. Might as well just held a raffle for the opportunity to be keynote speaker so someone's grandma could say the exact same meaningless crap. Blah blah blah college blah derp derp my pappy herpa derpa derp check out how far I've spread my seed blah blah blah...

    May 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. kevin

    Mitt said he did not target that kid because he was gay..why then? was it because he was weak? Different? Burn in hell Romney.

    May 11, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. sandra

    No David gregory I cant, I promised my Gimmie a Kiss Interview 2012 Tour to Fox. I will make a Great Commander in Chief. God Help us if this no backbone Spineless souless, gutless of a Man wins.

    May 11, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    Those last two were borne by a surrogate mom - guess they're too rich to go through pain.

    May 11, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. gar

    Romney might be super rich, but he is coming off as a complete failure as a human being. I'm sick of hearing him constantly tear down our country and our President.

    May 11, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. sandra

    After the Mittster speaks to this wonderful crowd of 3, he goes home in a bad mood & sees the puppy, RUN, PUPPY, RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. Willis

    I love me some secret swiss bank accounts.

    May 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Sounds like Romney is going to give one of those old GOP fear speeches about Obama and college students are more concerned about the GOP hiking their tuition fees, etc., that's their main fear.

    May 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Willis

    Im not feelin his latest slogan of EVERYTHING SUCKS & EVERYTHING BLOWS. Mitt, Go away, This is still a GREAT Country, Stop Insulting it!!!

    May 11, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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