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. migeli

    It looks to me like religion is just a good cover for some religious leaders to feed their lust for sex with young children.Against contraception so there's a constant supply of youngster to prey on. Of couse bring lots of kids into the world but don't give them any health care.Is that what they want by taking a stance against this president who has done more good than any of these moronic idol worshipers.Sure be on the side of the right – wing Nazis like they were in Geermany when Hitler was exterminating millions of Jews.That was okay though.What a bunch of Hipocrites.

    August 9, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. apple pie

    News flash, people...... the government has always had a say in religiously affiliated businesses and services. You're living in lala land if you think government should keep their hands out. Impossible. You live in a democratic society.

    August 9, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Hit Obama and hit him HARD over his reckless trampling of our constitutional rights in a LOT of cases. This is just one of many. The guy is dangerous. If he has another Democrat majority in the House and Senate he'll go nuts in a second term shredding the constitution.

    August 9, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Oh, dear. That horrible, horrible Barrack Obama. Here he is again, thinking he should once again become President of the United States.

    Lucky for us, we have "Who shares your values?" Mitt Romney. Not that he actually shares my values, mind you. Freely lying at every turn not being something I am fond of, but hey, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, and who cares, really, that Mitt Romney included very much the same clauses in RomneyCare that he is now attacking Obama for.

    Kinda throws a damper into Romney's "be afraid - be very afraid" logic ....

    Obama/Biden 2012-2016

    August 9, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. once upon a horse

    Mitt Romney has one of the WORST run campaigns I have ever witnessed. He has managers and aides saying things that he either doesn't know or doesn't agree with, unitl he changes his mind and does agree with it, have ads that have been proven false yet he keeps running them.....and has no fluid meaning whatsoever. No wonder some conservatives wanted him to fire his entire staff.

    August 9, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. exrepublican

    Be not afraid, for our next potential presidents religion accepts men with multiple wives and believes Joe Smith was a buddy of Jesus. If America wants to read about a war on religion go read up on Joseph Smith, it makes for some good comedy. Where are all you repubs who hate religions other than yours? Forgetful are we?

    August 9, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. don

    Tell us how you feel about the Holy Trinity???????

    August 9, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. SDG66

    Looks like the Romney campaign's desperation is showing here, but I don't think his God-like "Be Not Afraid" is really going to accomplish anything but making him look ridiculous..

    August 9, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. myviewis

    I still don't understand why an employer is responsible for a woman's sexual activity? If a woman is sexually active and doesn't want to get pregnant why can't she pay for her own birth control? If a woman is not active than she doesn't pay for birth control. The way I see it is many women are not wanting to be responsible for their sex active lives, nor do their husbands or boyfriends want to take on this financial responsibility, they want sex but someone else pay for their chance of pregnancy. Why should anyone that is against abortion have to pay for it? What if a woman like me doesn't want to pay for an employee's sex activity? I get penalized? Why not penalize the woman for being sexualy active?

    August 9, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. Harry From Pa

    GOP are hypocrites, I have to laugh because in PA there is a sign that says no bo, vote for religious freedom and judeo/christian values. Well that whole Line doesn't even make sense, how can you say freedom and then give specifics, it just goes to show the abundance of ignorance in the GOP.

    August 9, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney praises Israels universal healthcare system but claims Obama's healthcare system goes against Americans religious faith yet it's OK for Americans to send Israel billions of their tax payer dollars for Israel's defense spending. And get this, because Israel has a healthcare system the people of Israel are healthier than Americans.

    August 9, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. Anonymous

    The University's go against the hand that feeds. They're so eager to take federal money in the form of loans and funding. But as soon as the government demands something they don't want it but would still take the money of the government. I get that it goes against their principals. But then don't take any form of funding from the government.

    August 9, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Marie MD

    Can somebody tell this jack behind about separation of church and state?
    He just lost sbout 90% of Catholics who use the pill and believe in contraception.
    This isn't about your religion you twit! The religion that doesn't allow women tom think for themselves and are seen as lesser human beings.
    The mormon quoting the pope? Really? If you work for a religious entity and you don't want contraceptives that's your choice. The rest of the normal world wants it!

    August 9, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. Aj

    Romney declared war on non Christians

    August 9, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. migeli

    It seems to me that religion is just a cover for some religious leaders to feed their lust for sex with young children.Sure bring more kids into the world and then let them suffer and die without health care.Side with the rigt -wing conservative Nazis who are against a president who gave us healthcare.Did the bishops speak up in defence of life whe Hitler was exterminating millions of Jews in Germany?These were fully formed people with developed brains not week old fetuses in a womb.Sure bring them into the world and if the Repubs can repeal Obama care a lot of these children will suffer and die anyway.So much for religion.Hipocrites!

    August 9, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. ghostriter

    Why doesn't the Romney ad bring up the many states that already had the requirement, that had religious institutions that were following the requirement as much as a decade earlier? Why doesn't it bring up the requirement for male enhancement drugs? That's fine, but contraception isn't? I

    August 9, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens held the same position a few years ago, but it is a good attempt by him at distracting his tax problems and IRA questions.

    August 9, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. migeli

    Didnt like that one either, did you?

    August 9, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. T-bone

    The gloves are off. Let's start hearing the bad things about Mormonism, since religion is apparently on the table

    August 9, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. Craig from LA

    Women have equality to men in this country. A guy has no restrictions on his medication choices including Viagra. The same should apply to women. Since the insurance companies are paying for the meds, NOT the religious institution, the argument of an 'attack of religion' is frankly absurd. This is just the age old story of powerful men and religious institutions dominated by men try to control women and their bodies. Another reason women will be voting Democratic in November. Republicans – your ticket back to the 8th century.

    August 9, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Independent in Texas

    His war on religeon is the only thing that can bring him down, otherwise he would have been a shu-in for another term.

    August 9, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. atteloc716

    Are we going to see Romney's Pac people called on carpet Wolfe? any staff there?
    they have more distorted adds than any in history so far,and there is no disclosure with bundler's with campaign.

    August 9, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. NVa Native

    Just keep your “religion of choice” out of other people's healthcare, and out of our lives in general.
    We don’t all want to live our lives controlled by ignorance or fear, but in America it is your personal right if you choose to. At least while freedom is still American value.

    August 9, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Donkey Party

    The Romney campaign is nothing but lies and desperation. Truly pathetic.

    August 9, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Donkey Party

    What about the 28 or so GOP governors who previously signed the exact same law into effect in their own states (including Mike Huckabee)? It appears they're leading the charge in the "war on religion".

    August 9, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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