Friday, December 01, 2006

Romney Team Clarifies Falwell Endorsement Comment

This past Thursday, Laura Hipp of the Jackson, MS Clarion-Ledger, wrote an article that attributed Romney to making a statement that he had the endorsement of the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Laura’s article stated: “Romney said he has the support of leaders like the Rev. Jerry Falwell.” Mitt was in Mississippi courting the evangelical vote for his possible presidential run. It was really a very small statement hidden in the middle of her article.

Small maybe, but picked up by the media and Falwell. The following day, Scott Helman of the Boston Globe quickly reported that Falwell “immediately distanced himself from the remark” saying that he had not endorsed any candidate at this time. The article quotes Romney's spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, with the following clarification: "What he said was that Jerry Falwell has said in the past that he could support a candidate of a different faith if that person agreed with him on moral and social issues."

This explanation was apparently confirmed. So what is the issue? One can question whether Romney’s record is agreeable to Farwell’s moral and social issues. Prior pro-abortion and pro gay statements certainly are not issues that Falwell would agree. So Mitt can clearly be accused of stretching Farwell’s willingness to support him.

I think the real issue is that everyone knows that Romney is not a real conservative. The media knows this, especially the Boston media. And conservative groups know this. The harder Mitt tries to prove himself a true conservative, the more true conservative groups will actively point out his record. There will be a concerted effort to paint Romney as he is, before Mitt has the chance to paint himself as a true conservative.

All this makes me question just how successful Romney can be in running as a true conservative. It will be interesting to see if he can successfully run away from his record.