Never miss Christian news that matters to you. facebookLike twitterFollow
pop up close

Santorum Says Romney Is Uncomfortable With Questions on Faith

0
Sign Up for Free eNewsletter ››
  • mitt romney
    (Photo: Reuters / Steve Marcus / Las Vegas Sun)
    Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney responds to a question from a reporter after meeting with students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada May 16, 2011.
By Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post Contributor
November 21, 2011|8:59 am

Rick Santorum said Mitt Romney skipped the weekend’s Iowa Thanksgiving Family Forum to avoid scrutiny of his belief. But the former Pennsylvania senator wasn’t the only one to lambast the former Massachusetts governor for not attending the second Christian gathering in two months.

Romney wouldn’t have been comfortable in a gathering where you have to explain “why you believe what you believe and where that came from,” Santorum told reporters Sunday, referring to the forum held at a church in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday.

“Clearly this was a forum that Mitt Romney was not particularly comfortable with,” CNN quoted Santorum as saying. “It was one that was longer form and one that was much more personal, much more reflective of where you’ve been and where you’re going, as opposed to just talking about the future in sound bites ... I don’t think that played to Gov. Romney’s strengths.”

Hosted by conservative group The Family Leader and co-sponsored by Focus on the Family-affiliate CitizenLink and the National Organization for Marriage, the event was attended by six Republican presidential candidates: former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Santorum. But the two candidates from the Mormon faith – Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman – were not present. In Huntsman’s case, however, it was because he was not invited because of his low poll numbers.

The forum’s host and Iowa conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats also condemned Romney for being “the only one who stiffed us.”

“I think that’s gone with his persona and how he’s treating, Iowa, which happens to be a swing state,” ABC News quoted Plaats as saying after the event. “And he wants to win the presidency, which tells me that he lacks judgment. And if he lacks judgment, I think people all across America have to say, ‘Is he the right candidate?’”

Follow us Get CP eNewsletter ››

The influential conservative leader added that Romney’s support was stagnant because “he won’t go to a base like this; he skips events like this.”

“This guy,” he said, “needs to come out and go shoulder to shoulder with his peers.” Had Romney shown even half of the heart that the other six candidates showed, “it would have done a world of good for his candidacy,” he added.

Romney also snubbed another event in Iowa. “I would’ve preferred if Mitt Romney had came – had come to the event,” the state’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad was quoted as saying at a fundraising dinner on his 65th birthday, which the six candidates attended. He said he was “assured that Romney is intending to be back this coming week and spend a lot more time here.”

In 2008, Iowa was Romney’s priority but he got just 25 percent of the caucus vote and came in a distant second to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“He [Romney] has had trouble with that target audience and the fact that he is missing, it speaks to the fact that he is hoping to move on and capture more of the independent vote and set aside those who are social conservatives,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council told America’s News HQ.

Romney’s faith became an issue after Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas called Mormonism a “cult” early October.

Romney on Saturday defended his absence in Iowa. “We’ve had a couple of events in Iowa; I’ve been there several times; I’ll be there this coming week,” Romney was quoted as saying after a campaign event in New Hampshire Saturday. “I’ve said from the very beginning we intend to play in Iowa and I want to do very well there.”

But Romney’s support in New Hampshire may not be as secured as he seems to think. A new poll released a day before the Iowa event suggested that Newt Gingrich could be a threat to Romney in New Hampshire. The poll by the New Hampshire Journal showed Gingrich and Romney in a neck-and-neck competition. While Romney had the support of 29 percent of voters, Gingrich had 27 percent.

Saturday’s was the second Christian gathering in Iowa Romney skipped in two months. Romney was also absent when an estimated 1,000 Christian conservatives gathered at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa last month.

The host of the October event, Steve Scheffler, then charged Romney that he decided not to come “because probably he doesn’t want to be there… I have to conclude that they [Romney’s campaign] don’t feel comfortable in this arena.”

Plaats had warned Romney in October, “If he doesn’t come [to the Family Forum in November], I guarantee you every 30 minutes of the forum we will stop and have a commercial that says why we invited Romney and how he chose not to come,” he was quoted as saying.

 

Videos that May Interest You

CP Insider: Newt Gingrich on Prison Reform

Advertisement