Romney talks faith, pranks in Christian television interview
May 12th, 2012
09:37 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney talks faith, pranks in Christian television interview

(CNN) – He’ll pass on “pastor in chief,” but Mitt Romney may just fit a different bill: prankster in chief.

The GOP presidential contender talked about his faith and penchant for pranks in a Saturday television interview conducted after his commencement address at an evangelical university.

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Romney, who is Mormon, did not address his own faith in the speech, but sought to draw connections between his beliefs and those held by Liberty University, which calls itself the largest evangelical Christian university in the world.

Echoing remarks of Liberty’s chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr., Romney told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the presidential selection process involves “finding people who share our values and our views, and work for a person who can become our commander in chief, but perhaps not our pastor in chief.”

Asked to identify “one of the biggest misconceptions about your Mormon faith,” Romney instead kept very close to the remarks he delivered to the 6,000 graduates at the Virginia university.

“I know that there are very significant differences in creeds and theologies between religions, and certainly between my faith and the faith of people here at Liberty University,” Romney said. “And yet, we find common ground, and common purpose in service, in values that we share.”

The address came after a Thursday report that he and others had teased, taunted, or even bullied a peer – with possible homophobic undertones - at the all-boys prep school he attended in the 1960s. Romney said he did not remember the incidents described in a Washington Post report and apologized if anyone had been hurt if the incident had taken place.

Earlier this month, his wife, Ann, described a “wild and crazy man” inside of her husband, who is sometimes described as stiff.

In the Saturday interview, Romney described one such prank he pulled on a state trooper who had short-sheeted the then-Massachusetts governor’s hotel room bed.

“And the next morning when I came down to breakfast, he of course had a big smile, because he was going to see how I reacted,” Romney said. “I pretended not to notice.”

The candidate describes having a letter typed on hotel stationery, “saying we are so sorry that your bed was improperly made, Mr. Romney, and we have fired the maid who did it.”

A staffer showed the letter to the trooper, Romney said, whose boss insisted the trooper call the hotel to explain the maid’s innocence.

“He got on the phone all red-faced, and then finally, of course when the manager had no idea what he was talking about, he realized the joke was on him,” Romney recounted. “So, we play tricks even with the people I work with."

Excerpts of the interview were posted online Saturday evening. Other clips show Romney reiterating his support for “traditional marriage” and “the sanctity of life,” as well as describing a time when he and one of his sons on jet skis ferried to shore a family whose boat had capsized near his lake house.

- CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    I'd like to see a survey of businesses that consider a "degree" from Liberty University to be worth the paper it's printed on ...

    May 13, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  2. W.G.

    The Bible talks about how the evil one comes along and can fool even the elect . It´s happened .
    Ai Liberty Univ. they invited Romney to speak . Romney is a Mormon , in Christian terms like
    Jehova´s witnesses , a Heretic . while it´s one thing to talk to a Mormon or a´s another
    thing to let them speak or to sway a crowd into agreement . Mr. Obama says he´s a Christian
    I take him at his word . He may not be the best Christian but I can pray that GOD leads him and
    guides him . The U.S. in not a theocracy it´s a democracy and in that perspective , you can´t
    let just one or two issues sway you . In other words give to Ceaser what is Ceasers and give
    to GOD what is GODs . But at Liberty Univ. , it would do well for the people there to remember
    2Peter 2:1-3

    May 13, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  3. GL

    The candidate describes having a letter typed on hotel stationery, “saying we are so sorry that your bed was improperly made, Mr. Romney, and we have fired the maid who did it.”

    Mitt love talking about firing people.

    May 13, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  4. skarphace

    Why is Romney taking his campaign to so many Christian outlets?

    Maybe he thinks he can fool Christians into thinking that Mormons are Christians? If so, here is an argument against that:

    1) Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God. Mormons believe that Jesus is a son of God. Big deal, you say? Semantics, you say? Wrong. Mormons believe that every birth is accompanied by the Holy Spirit and therefore we are all sons and daughters of God. Therefore Mormons do not view the birth of Jesus as any different than the birth of any other human being. Christians, on the other hand, view Jesus' birth as unique as he has no human father but rather is the one and only biological son of God.

    2) Mormons believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose in spiritial form to appear before his disciples. Christians, on the other hand, believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose in physical form to appear before his disciples. While again, this may appear at first glance to be just an argument of semantics, it is very significant. If Jesus did not rise in physical form, then he didn't really rise. He merely descended from Heaven and then ascended again. This is why, to Mormons, the moving of the stone that blocked Jesus' tomb is merely symbolic: since Jesus rose in spiritual form, he did not need the stone to be moved in order to get out of the tomb.

    3) This, to me is the kicker. Christians believe that the only path to salvation is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior. Mormons, on the other hand, believe that Jesus is one of the paths to salvation as he is one of the great prophets, as is Joseph Smith. Therefore, while Christians see Jesus as greater than any other human being that ever lived, to Mormons he is just one of the great prophets and once again is not unique in any way.

    If someone does not believe in any of these three core principles of Christianity, they are not Christian. Mormons do not believe in any of them. Therefore, they are not in any way Christian.

    May 13, 2012 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  5. Emma in Baltimore

    I can't believe CBN had their White House Correspondent interview Mitt Romney. That is incredibly tacky of them. Romney is a presidential hopeful. He isn't even the Republican nominee yet. And even though CBN is critical of Mormonism, they favor their political beliefs over the religious ones. What a bunch of shallow, manipulative deceivers.

    May 13, 2012 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  6. morsecoder

    Five years ago, only kids in high school played "pranks". Now, we have television shows devoted to "pranking", and Presidential candidates "pulling pranks". The downward spiral continues...

    May 13, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  7. dojo

    Another joke about somebody in a low paying job being fired. Awesome.

    May 13, 2012 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  8. zurab

    cnn-shame of America

    May 13, 2012 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  9. zurab

    Sorry,i forgot,not only cnn-shame,hollywood as well

    May 13, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  10. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    The only thing Willard has faith in is his off shore bank accounts.

    May 13, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  11. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Mormonism was a result of Joseph Smith getting caught ny his wife doing the maid and then lying about it by saying God told him to do it. The next thing you know ol' Joe's got himself a Harem. Hallelujah!

    May 13, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  12. Donkey Party

    Notice that even the content of Romney's pranks involve firing people (saying he called the hotel office and had the maid fired was so believable that the Trooper believed it without question). And the GOP has the nerve to try and portray President Obama as an out of touch elitist??? What a horrible person (and candidate) Romney is.

    May 13, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  13. Jane

    Why is it that every time he goes somewhere and speaks, he is always wearing the exact same outfit??

    May 13, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  14. Chedar

    Imagine Romney is going to pull a prank to the American people by saying " Ooops! just pull the trigger to lunch a ballistic missiles. One for China, One for N Korea, one Russia, one for Iran, and so on and so forth. Happy April fools day!

    May 13, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  15. Bob

    It was not a prank! Alexithemic Mitt lead a vicious assault on a classmate.

    May 13, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  16. lgny

    Yawn, yet another Romney story centers on "firing" someone. Even if a prank, you can readily tell what's always on his mind.

    May 13, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  17. fred ca

    I was in a public school in California in 1969. Teachers would take out a ruler and measure your hair. If it was 'too long' you were suspended until your hair met 'standards'. Of course, that was not bullying.

    I spent 3 years after that in a male bordering school. Yes, some of the actions there would be classified today as 'bullying'. But it was a give and take environment. Today's 'victim' was tomorrow's 'abuser'. It was an environment for learning and understanding the real world.

    So 4 people have 'testified' on what Romney 'did'. One has already said he was not there but he 'heard' about it.

    One is an attorney. Is he a John Edwards attorney...channeling dead babies in summation to show that a doctor, who has so much more ethics than a lawyer, errored in following best practices.

    And the best point is that the 'victim' was 'assumed' to be gay. Of course, for the convenience of the lsm, he is dead and can not confirm, deny, give his take. So the lsm and typical liberal bigots get a two-fer.

    May 13, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  18. Janetlaw

    Keep your "pranks" – sounds like my worst nightmare – a rich white frat boy who thinks he is funny when he is just cruel

    May 13, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  19. joe in PA

    Aagh – OK, you ferried them to shore after their boat capsized, so? Okay I get it, this wonderful man of compassion decided to follow maritime rule and offer assistance to a boat in distress. Isn't it wonderful that he chose to "not let them drown" Honestly, What tripe!

    May 13, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  20. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Romney talks faith, pranks in Christian television interview◄
    Too late R-Money because your butt is now stew
    Your FAITH you ran away from – You should have talked about it all along
    And your PRANKS just turned to BULLYING & ASSAULT – Now you're "Etch-A-Sketching" a new Song!

    Too Late!!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    May 13, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. JJ

    Those were not pranks. They were hate crimes. The only way you're getting into the WH is with a tour ticket. Deal with it.

    May 13, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  22. Sydnium S. Adolsen

    If he's a wild prankster, I'm a joker (not that I'm Batman's #1 villain which the latter played basketball with the POTUS).

    May 13, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
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