- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Evangelical supporters of Romney gather at summit
Share values with Mormon candidate
Question of the Day
He wasn’t there but Mitt Romney got some love over the weekend at a Washington, D.C., gathering of more than 2.000 evangelical Protestants representing a demographic that proved crucial to electing the last four Republican presidents.
Many of the born-again Christians at Family Research Council President Tony Perkins‘ annual Values Voter Summit — some from as far away as the California — are recent converts to the Romney presidential quest. They said in interviews that they have put aside their doubts in favor of what they say is a man who, though a Mormon, shares their moral values and political aims despite the doctrinal differences between his faith and theirs.
“I know I said a few months ago that I would never vote for a Mormon, but my husband and I and our friends are so far past that now,” said Kim Bengard, whose San Clemente, Calif., home is three doors away from what was President Nixon’s “Western White House.” “I have come to understand that Mitt Romney supports my values. We’re really pleased with him.”
Retired federal worker Bob Nelson, a Gaithersburg evangelical activist, said he didn’t mind Mr. Romney’s absence this year, because the former Massachusetts governor had addressed the two previous Values Voter Summit gatherings.
“Obviously, if you have just named a vice presidential candidate, you don’t want to upstage him — and [Wisconsin Rep.] Paul Ryan hasn’t been here before.” Mr. Ryan, a Catholic, and Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican and a Presbyterian, were among the most warmly received politicians at the summit.
A new Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll analysis predicts that 34 percent of this year’s GOP voters will be white evangelical voters, another 20 percent “mainline” Protestants, and 21 percent, Catholics.
Continuing a trend of several years, support for a more aggressive foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, was evident in the content of speeches and the positive audience response.
Asked in an interview if he felt that summit speakers in general raised the protection of Israel to equal or near equal importance with the protection of the United States in a time of renewed Middle East crisis, Mr. Perkins said, “Yes. It is clear the Obama administration’s lead-from-behind foreign policy is a failure. The message here is, ‘Stop apologizing and start defending American ideals!’”
Gary Bauer, a Reagan White House adviser who sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2000, said in an interview that “foreign policy should be growing in importance as issue, but it tends to move a lot slower in the minds of Americans unless confronted with dramatic events like 9/11.”
Mr. Bauer recalled that in the 1979-1980 Iranian hostage crisis, “people wanted to be with President Carter and it took his grinding platitudes for people to get the idea he doesn’t understand the world. The events in Libya and Egypt this week show tremendous failures by Obama, but Republicans haven’t made a good critique of that failure.”
Despite their support for Israel, most Jewish voters still favor Mr. Obama, though in smaller numbers than the 76 percent they registered in 2008.
An Investors Business Daily-Christian Science Monitor-TIPP Poll last week showed the president leading Mr. Romney by 59 percent to 35 percent among Jewish voters, a significant decline from he 78 percent Mr. Obama won in 2008 but still a clear majority. Much of the evangelical support for Israel stems from interpretations of the Bible and the Second Coming.
The importance that conservative religious organizations and the GOP attach to making direct appeals to the religious voter was highlighted by a turn at the podium of almost every big name in religion and politics during the three-day meeting at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
But presidential historian and evangelical Doug Wead said this summit, like other such gatherings in the past, is likely to have only a slight election impact, since Mr. Romney’s campaign has shown “the weakest outreach to evangelical voters I have seen since Robert Dole.”
Not widely admired by evangelicals, Mr. Dole was the Kansas senator who won the 1996 GOP presidential nomination.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
- New ACU director takes aim at debt, poverty, big government
- Jindal v. Obama: The new school choice battle; La. voucher fight revives reform led by conservatives
- Chris Christie's coup: George W. Bush appears on his behalf at GOP summit
- GOP governors lay out own agenda with Washington gridlocked
- Walker, Christie: The tale of 2 very different GOPers on a quest for the presidency
Latest Blog Entries
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Paul Rondeau exposes the propaganda, media tricks, and government policies that undermine our families, faith, freedom…and even life itself
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow