What Romney did manage to do however, was throw the red meat to the hungry lions of the religions right and “call for a robust role for religion in public life.”
“I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from the God who gave us liberty,” he said, drawing applause from an audience of about 300 invited guests, including supporters and religious leaders. “Nor would I separate us from our religious heritage.”
The theme appeared calculated to resonate with conservative evangelical Christians. While many in that group consider Mormonism to be heretical, they also believe that the country was founded as a “Christian nation” and have expressed mounting alarm over efforts to enforce the separation of church and state by removing expressions of faith from the public square.
In the lead up to Romney’s speech, it was suggested that was going to “pull a JFK,” but Romney’s address “differed significantly from that signal moment in recent history, which historians say was a turning point in the 1960 election.”
For one thing, Kennedy later took questions hurled at him from the ministers, many of them hostile, while Mr. Romney spoke before a friendly audience whose front row included four of his five sons and his wife, Ann, as well as many people affiliated with the campaign.
Romney is of course running scared these days, as Huckabee climbs in the polls, with the help, (as I noted in my previous post) he claims of “God.” Now that the big speech has been delievered it will be interesting to see if Mitt gains a jump in the polls. I doubt it. Conservative Christian’s have a downright distaste for Mormonism. There’s probably nothing Romney can ever say to change that.
So what did Romney leave out of his speech today? Ramesh Ponnuru on The Corner says, “It would have been nice if Romney, while making room for people of all faiths in this country, could have also made some room for people with none.” I agree.
Who loved Mitt’s speech? Well, it seems Hugh Hewitt thought it was “simply magnificent.”
Mitt Romney’s “Faith in America” speech was simply magnificent, and anyone who denies it is not to be trusted as an analyst. On every level it was a masterpiece.
Memeorandum has all the buzz.