Romney ad hits Obama for 'war on religion'
August 9th, 2012
07:53 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney ad hits Obama for 'war on religion'

(CNN) – After weeks of attacking President Barack Obama's economic record, Mitt Romney took a sharply different tack Thursday in his latest television ad, going after the president for policies the Republican challenger amounts to a "war on religion."

In the spot, which also features footage from Romney's trip in July to Poland, an announcer says Obama's heath care law forces religious institutions to "go against their faith."

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"Who shares your values?" the announcer asks. "President Obama used his healthcare plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith. Mitt Romney believes that's wrong."

In a press release that accompanied the ad, the campaign justifies the "war on religion" claim using an editorial published in the San Antonio Express News in February, as a political firestorm waged over a controversial federal rule requiring employers cover contraception in their health insurance plans.

The rule in question mandated all employers, including religiously affiliated organizations like hospitals and colleges, provide free contraception to employees through health insurance plans. Churches were exempted from the law.

After uproar from conservatives and religious groups, Obama announced an accommodation to the rule on February 10. Under the new plan, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.

A poll taken in March by the Public Religion Research Institute showed a majority of Americans - 54% - said religiously affiliated colleges and universities should be required to provide employees with health care plans that cover contraception.

Romney's thirty-second ad, titled "Be Not Afraid," does not directly reference the contraception rule, or the subsequent accommodation from the Obama adminstration.

After the "war on religion" segment, the ad uses a clip of Romney speaking in Poland.

"In 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul II, spoke words that would bring down an empire: 'Be not afraid,'" Romney is showed saying.

"When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?" the announcer asks.

Romney's speech in Warsaw marked his last public remarks on a week long, three-country foreign swing in July that was meant to bolster his foreign policy credentials. The trip also brought the candidate to London and Israel - two stops marred by stumbles, including a suggestion that the organizers of the London Olympics were ill prepared to host the 2012 Games. In Israel, his remarks in support of the Jewish state provoked an angry response from Palestinian leaders. But his stop in Poland was largely free of any major gaffe from the candidate.

In Thursday's ad, Romney is shown meeting with Lech Walesa, the shipyard worker who went on to inspire the Solidarity trade union and the eventual fall of the Iron Curtain. When Romney was in Poland, Walesa effectively endorsed him for president.

Romney's ad Thursday could be seen as a direct appeal to Catholic voters, who according to national exit polls went for Obama over Sen. John McCain in 2008 54%-45%. Organizations of Catholic bishops have led the charge against the contraception provision in Obama's heath care law.

Obama, who was campaigning in Colorado Wednesday, also subtly harkened back to February's debate over contraception. He was introduced by Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke, who was at the center of the controversy earlier this year after testifying to Congress about the importance of providing birth control to employees of religiously affiliated institutions.

Responding to the Romney ad, an Obama spokeswoman defended the president's contraception stance.

“President Obama believes that, in 2012, women should have access to free contraception as part of their health insurance, and he has done so in a way that respects religious liberty," Lis Smith wrote. "Churches are completely exempt and religiously affiliated organizations that object to providing the service will never have to pay for contraception. Mitt Romney apparently disagrees with this approach and it’s no surprise why. He has pledged to ‘get rid of’ of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and would take women’s health back to the 1950’s. Women can’t afford his extreme policies."

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Filed under: Ads • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Religion
soundoff (420 Responses)
  1. OffCenter

    As a catholic I can still not see how this is a war on anything. In your personal life you are allowed to live by the dictates of your own faith. But the second you move to being a public institution that to staff itself feels the need to hire outside your faith your control over if they do or do not do something in accordance with your faith ends at your nose.

    This would open the precident to argue that if you are allowed to not cover a non catholic womans contrception then why can you fire an administrator for eating meat on fridays? Or dening spousal coverage to a divorced man who remarried.

    August 9, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Jules

    Another lie – why am I not suprised. Mormons obviously do not believe in the Ten Commandments. They must have a new set like – Thou shalt have no other god before money. Another one is Bearning false witness is ok if it gets you what you want. This is a terrible human being. They say they give a lot to the Mormon church. My question is does the Mormon church help anybody other than Mormons or those they are recruiting to be Mormons? The website says it helps Mormon families so was wondering if anyone knew any differently.

    August 9, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. Fielding Mellish

    More unadulterated swill from Romney.

    August 9, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. Af

    Romney is the most HYPOCRITE POLITICIAN EVER EXISTED. The so-called religious people should be the one who help provide health care for people. That is what Jesus Christ had said , the strongs support the weaks, not using the churches money for their own needed. The ObamaCare IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE WEAK. You are rich Romney don't bother the poor.

    August 9, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  5. timelesstoo

    This war on religion comes from a man who believes God resides on the planet Kolob? A whole belief stucture that makes you wonder how grounded someone is in reality.

    August 9, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. MIDave

    Obama's record is so bad they have no choice but to generate propaganda and perpetuate lie's in order to hide from the reality which is that he does not believe in what this country stands for. I received yet another example today from his Policy Director, James Kvaal, in which he refers to "The Healthcare Mandate" portion of Obamacare. The Supreme Court ruled the mandate unconstitutional- but allowed it to stand as a tax as Obama's lawyers argued it was, even though he refuses to call it what it is- the largest tax ever placed on the poor, working poor, and middle class.

    August 9, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. just me

    Freedom? Just because an insurance co. May be required to cover something doesn't mean u have to use it. Freedom of religion? Whose religion? This is freedom of choice. For the poeple. If an individual doesn't want contraceptives. Don't get it. Simple as that.

    August 9, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. RealityBites

    Obama's $6 TRILLION dollar addition to our national debt is equivalent to a war on our childrens futures.

    August 9, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. Michael

    This is disgusting. Romney is a disgrace for using this kind of ignorant pandering. Fear is all the republicans have to sell.

    August 9, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Jeff - Sarasota, Florida

    What is the big deal... We have freedom of choice... If it goes against your religion to use birth control, then don't use it... Otherwise it should be available to whoever wants it... That is jus tcalled being RESPONSIBLE... Something the GOP has seemed to be lacking in the last decade or so...

    All the pro-lifers rant about abortions, yet they don't want people to have access to birth control when it is part of human nature to breed, as it is with all mammals and most other species native to this planet...

    My philosophy is very simple... I am pro-choice, BUT, if the pro-lifers really want to stop all abortions, then they should be the ones to take care of all the unwanted children born... Otherwise, they need to remember that I pay taxes for this stuff just like they do and I prefer my money go to better things than taking care of unwanted children half assedly, since the majority of them will end up struggling one way or another (jail, on the streets, bouncing around in foster homes etc)...

    August 9, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. Tree

    Fine on to hit someone on war on religion. Romney he is so wrong it just can't be right.

    August 9, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  12. chra

    "Under the new plan, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions."

    Gee what is the problem?
    Calling a disagreement over a health insurance plan is a war on religion now? Does Romney know what a war is? What a war on religion involves?
    Look at other countries in the world where people are dying for their religious beliefs. He couldn't be that detached from reality.

    In a nation that is starting to get hit with more frequent attacks of lone wolf terrorism, we don't need candidates using the "your religion is being victimized" card to try to get votes. Sounds like a future message to Americans that if Republican voters don't get special treatment for their beliefs then they will treat this as a declaration of war upon them. Whether a majority actually believe that or not Romney is willing to go there to try to get support . This is not someone that should be running for POTUS. When and why did Republicans decide that unreasonable were good for this country?

    August 9, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Mikel Walker

    There us nothing that former Gov. Romney will not say or do to be President. We may need to caution why he wants to be in power so bad. This is rediculous in the scope that there should be some lines that our elected or want to be elected offical shouldn't cross. President Obama is not clean either in this exchange but I can say he has been more factual tree of his assesment of former Gov. Romney. However, the Romney camp on so many occasions have been proven not to be a reliable source of factuaL information.

    August 9, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Forward, please.

    It may not necessarily be a 'war on religion' in general, but Obama is definitely attacking individual freedoms in favor of his collective agenda. Romney is the clear choice if freedom and a sustainable economy is what you are looking for.

    August 9, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. Sniffit

    This would get you an F- in law school on your ConLaw exam for failure to identify the correct legal issues.

    August 9, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  16. anthony76

    No, Willard... we HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN about that little nagging TAXES issue you have. Nope..

    If you hope to be President of the USA, you might want to reconsider all those off-shore tax havens, as well pay your fair share of taxes like the middle and lower classes. You might also want to get one of your 5 healthy sons to enlist, before you go rattling the sabers of war against Iran. But you won't do neither, so the American people.. you know.. the ones you are applying for the job with, just won't hire you.

    Feels strange doesn't it? That feeling of actually not being guaranteed something you feel sooo entitled too?
    Welcome to the island, Thurston Howell the third....

    August 9, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |

    Mitt there are three types of people the religion people stir with a stick of emotion of man made dead works then there are the ones who hate G-D THEN THERE ARE the ones who have a relationship with the wisdom of G-D you kno

    August 9, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. lloyd spearman

    Maybe the church should stick to just being church times have change along with that people have change we are not livening in mid evil time anymore the church is a business to. So it apply to church just as well what makes the church think the law does not apply to it. The church you is not the law the goverment apply law not the church if the church don't like it get out the business. What makes the church think it can slither throught some laws also churches should be taxed like any other business to. THE CHURCH IS NOT THE LAW and I'm not attacking the church but the law is the law!!!!!!!!!!

    August 9, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney is barking up the wrong tree. Polls show most Americans support birth control. This is not a good issue to attract women, moderates, and independent voters.

    August 9, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  20. Mikey

    This deserves a giant "pants on fire" and is an indication of just how pathetic and desperate that Romney capaign has become.

    August 9, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "forces religious institutions to "go against their faith.""

    And where's the illogical end of that thread of faulty reasoning? "Living in this country and paying taxes means that the gov't can do nothing whatsoever that has any offensive aspects to my religious beliefs." Next, they'll either be arguing that the gov't is forcing them to move out of the country by upholding the constitutional right to choose OR that them living here and paying taxes entitles them to have the laws not allow anything that would go against their religious dogma. [Insert game show WRONG buzzer]. That's NOT what the 1st Amendment means. In fact, it's the opposite.

    August 9, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. enuff

    This is so twisted in so many ways. The Pope said that in reference to "Be no afraid" for the Lord Jesus is on your side. Romney is far from being Jesus (though Mormons believe they are equal to Him). He is not the savior, nor anything close. That alone makes him close to being an antichrist. Quit throwing everything you think may stick. You are losing.

    August 9, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  23. Jill

    Now this is Real Phony Baloney. Shame on Romney!

    August 9, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. VistaPoint

    Romney lies again

    August 9, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. Susan

    Wow! Obama has declared a war against religion, a war against white people, a war against small businesses, a war against the wealthy, a war against dancing horsies, a war against hunters, a war against gun owners, a war against the middle class a war against capitalism, and a war against our freedoms. How stupid do the republicans think we are?
    PS – He is so out of touch with us regular folk that he believes that all religions are against contraception and we all bow down to the pope.

    August 9, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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