The snowball becomes an avalanche

OK. For those of you keeping score here we go again:

  • James Bopp, Jr. comes on early for Romney (a “slam dunk” according to David Brody)
  • Jay Sekulow gives his nod along with other prominent ACLJ activists
  • Mark DeMoss keeps his powder dry and then lets it all out backing Romney
  • More evangelicals begin to warm to Romney
  • Endorsements by Bob Jones folk come on strong
  • Dr. Mohler sets the context
  • And now…

Wayne Grudmen gives a strong endorsement of Romney.

Some key excerpts:

As an evangelical professor of Bible and theology, I have decided to support Mitt Romney for President (even though he is a Mormon) for two old-fashioned reasons: First, he is the best-qualified candidate, and second, he holds moral and political values consistent with those in the Bible.

Conservative positions: Romney’s positions on social, economic, and international issues are all soundly conservative. On major issues such as protection of the unborn, a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, strong national defense and victory against radical Islamic terrorists, securing our border, a signed pledge of no tax increases, promoting school choice, and appointment of Supreme Court justices who will interpret law, not make new law, Romney holds solidly conservative positions. His positions are the ones the majority of evangelicals have supported in the past.

Some people object that Romney has “flip-flopped” on some of these positions. I think that accusation is exaggerated. He hasn’t flip-flopped back and forth, he has simply become more consistently conservative. I think that’s a good thing in a political and media climate that is more and more liberal. (In fact, Ronald Reagan also changed from signing a liberal abortion law as governor of California to being a consistently pro-life president.) Evangelicals have worked for decades to persuade people of the pro-life position, and Romney has been persuaded, and he is strongly on our side on this issue.

What about his religion? Romney is a Mormon, and I strongly disagree with a significant number of Mormon theological beliefs, which I find to be inconsistent with the Bible and with historic Christian teachings. But many Mormon teachings on ethics and values are similar to those in the Bible, and those teachings support Romney’s conservative political values.

Can evangelicals support a candidate who is politically conservative but not an evangelical Christian? Yes, certainly. In fact, it would demonstrate the falsehood of the liberal accusation that evangelicals are just trying to make this a “Christian nation” and only want evangelical Christians in office. For evangelicals to support a Mormon candidate would be similar to supporting a conservative Jewish candidate—someone we don’t consider a Christian but who comes from a religious tradition that believes in absolute moral values very similar to those that Christians learn from the Bible.

….

Or have we come to the point where evangelicals will only vote for people they consider Christians? I hope not, for nothing in the Bible says that people have to be born again Christians before they can be governmental authorities who are used greatly by God to advance his purposes.

Mitt Romney: The Week Ahead FAQ

(UPDATE: SEE APOLOGY TO PHILIP KLEIN HERE)

OK… taking a page from Dean Barnett I’m going to answer the gambit of questions I received from readers, friends and family.

Q. Where is Mitt going to be this week?

This week the focus is simple: fundraising:

  • Mitt starts out the week on Monday in Texas with fundraising events in Dallas an Houston
  • Tuesday, the campaign heads to California (which is proving very generous in their contributions) for fundraisers in Palm Desert and Los Angeles
  • Wednesday the Governor jets across the country for a luncheon in Baton Rouge and northward for a dinner in in Charleston, SC
  • Thursday the Romney camp awakens to the beautiful SC dawn for a luncheon in Greenville
  • Finally, Friday finds Mitt in Palm Beach for the final fundraiser of the 1st Quarter

Q. What’s up with the fundraising for the various candidates?

Of course the real buzz around town is the anxious nail biting push for dollar donations which will probably be revealed at the end of the week. While the full reports won’t be published by the FEC until April 15th, the campaigns will likely give a good weekend update just in time for the Sunday shows.

So, who will be the winner. I wouldn’t count Mitt out but here’s the reality of the contest:

  • Rudy is the rock star with wide (but shallow) support across the country
  • McCain is the long-timer maverick, loathed by many in the GOP base, but has built up the best mailing list in the business
  • Romney is the underdog who has hired the A-team but lacks the name recognition, relying instead on the ground game
  • What about the others… If they garner more than a few million each… i would be surprised

Q. OK spill it… What are the numbers?

Despite what McCain wants you to believe the no one (including the Romney camp) is going to raise $30 million. McCain’s people are expectations spinners and it simply won’t fly. Romney will probably come in under $20 million. McCain will top him and Rudy? Really I have no idea but it could top them both - I dunno.

Q. Did you hear about the Evangelicals for Mitt liars?

Frankly, this is silly. In my mind the folks at EFM have been maligned by Philp Klein and the AmSpec folk (who are inexplicable vehement in their opposition to Mitt Romney). Here’s the short version: Nancy French (a native of Tennessee) opined that she thought Thompson was pro-choice in his original incarnation for the Senate. Philip Klein and (see apology here)other people in the blogosphere then accused them of being liars. EFM co-blogger comes to Nancy’s defense:

This was, of course, in response to Nancy’s very temperate post pointing out several news accounts that either refer to Senator Thompson as pro-choice during his Senate runs-or discuss Senator Thompson calling himself pro-choice. She didn’t attack Senator Thompson-she said he’d be a “great candidate”-but she did continue to make the point David and I have also made, namely that the “True Conservative Watch” currently enveloping our movement is a bit much. She simply pointed out that he appears to be just as imperfect as Governor Romney.

David French (Nancy’s husband) chimes in with his own response:

There’s no doubt that Fred Thompson was less pro-choice than his Democratic opponent in 1994, but there is also little doubt that he was less pro-life than Bill Frist (the other Republican running for Senate at the time). I was practicing law in Nashville, and I have distinct memories of the race because Fred Thompson was the first pro-choice politician I ever voted for. In fact, I can remember having guilty pangs as I pulled the lever-breaking a vow I made in college to never vote for a pro-choice candidate.

Yesterday, I suspect that Philip Klein (who I gather to be Anti-Romney-esque) fed some items into the Prowler Column on Spectator.org. The gist of the article is confusing. They claim:

  • EFM is taking funds from the Romney campaign but isn’t
  • Mark DeMoss was the guy who started the EFM website only he didn’t.
  • EFM is using Romney research which the Prowler doesn’t cite.
  • EFM is attacking Thompson using this research by quoting the opinions of other people?

In short, it’s a pathetic attack with little evidence

more to come later today

Introduction of Mitt Romney by Mark DeMoss @ NRB

National Religious Broadcasters Convention, February 18, 2007, Orlando
comments by Mark DeMoss

Last September, after months of personal research, I sat in the office of a remarkable man. I was meeting, for the first time in person, a 59 year-old man who:

  • Has been married to the same woman, his fist wife, for 37 years
  • Is an amazingly successful businessman, with a long track record of making and managing money, hiring talented people, and solving complex problems
  • Restored integrity, order, and profit to an Olympic Games mired in a bribery scandal and heavy debt
  • Was elected governor of the most liberal state in the nation; and later elected by his 26 fellow Republican colleagues as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association
  • Defended the Biblical definition of marriage, marriage between a man and a woman, against great opposition
  • Objects to embryonic stem-cell research, even though his wife Ann has multiple sclerosis
  • Believes that life begins at conception and should be protected at all cost

Now, I think most of us in this room would say, “Wow! That’s just the kind of leader I’ve been looking for.” Well, this man, Gov. Mitt Romney, is also a Mormon—which is why I was sitting in his office that September afternoon.

You see, I had been hearing that evangelicals would not support a Mormon for president (even though we’ve worked closely with them for 30 years on a host of issues of importance to us); and that thinking bothered me.

After all, I would not want people to say, “I could never vote for an evangelical—those people are crazy.” I further thought that if one-third of evangelicals saw fit to vote for Bill Clinton—the second time—a Southern Baptist who doesn’t share my values, surely we could consider a Mormon who does share and practice these values.

So, as I think about our country and the next election, I have concluded two things:

  1. I care more that a candidate represents my values, than that he or she shares my faith or theology.
  2. I have an answer to the question, “Could I ever vote for a Mormon?” It depends on who the Mormon is! The question should not be “Could I vote for a Mormon,” but rather, “could I vote for this Mormon.” Or could I vote for that Southern Baptist, or this Methodist, or that Catholic?

After all, there are Mormons Mitt Romney would not vote for; and there are Southern Baptists I would not vote for.

I believe when evaluating a candidate for this important office, we should evaluate the whole of a person’s life—his experience, his behavior, his family, his intellect, his integrity, and his character.

That September day, in the Massachusetts Statehouse, I told Gov. Romney two things: I told him I wanted to help him; and I told him I wasn’t for hire. I was looking for a candidate, not a client.

A month later I was fortunate to spend a day in the governor’s home, getting to know him and his wife better; and I quickly developed a friendship and a conviction that this is a special man and a rare kind of leader.

So I have tried to introduce Gov. Romney, and his wonderful wife Ann, to fellow evangelicals ever since, and I’m honored that they have come to Orlando today to meet with us. I am convinced that if “values voters” are looking for a candidate with real values, you are about to meet the real thing.

So after Jay Sekulow, my co-host for this meeting today, shares a few additional comments, I am proud to join him in introducing my special friends,

Gov. and Mrs. Mitt Romney.