In a new line of attack on the Obama administration, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Tuesday that the administration has fought “religious liberty” in the country, prompting the Obama campaign to call the comments “disgraceful.”
“I will make sure that we never again attack religious liberty in the United States of America,” said Romney, in response to a question about protecting religious freedom at a campaign stop in Michigan. “You expect the president of the United States to be sensitive to that freedom and protect it and unfortunately -- perhaps because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda -- they have fought against religion.”
Those words prompted a stern rebuke by the Obama campaign, which linked the remarks to earlier statements by Republican candidate Rick Santorum, who has said that Obama espouses a “phony theology.” “These ugly and misleading attacks have no place in the campaign,” said Liz Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman.
Religious liberty has been a burning topic over the past few weeks in the wake of the Obama administration’s decision to mandate that insurance companies cover birth control costs even for people employed at church-affiliated institutions. In campaign appearances, Romney has typically steered clear of hot-button social issues.