As the field of GOP presidential candidates is cemented, attendees at the Values Voter Summit seemed to agree the nomination would be narrowed down to Mitt Romney and someone else. Should Romney earn the Republican nomination and run against President Barack Obama, most VVS attendees said they would give him their support, but they were still holding out for someone else who has more stringent conservative credentials.
A straw poll conducted at the VVS indicated Romney will struggle with the religious conservatives. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas won the poll with 732 votes, followed by businessman Herman Cain with 447. Romney landed in fourth place behind Texas Gov. Rick Perry with only 88 votes out of 1,983 cast. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, 54 votes, and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, two votes, were the only two who fared worse.
In his speech at the Summit, Romney attempted to align himself with the religious right and promised to defend the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
“I will appoint an attorney general who will defend the bipartisan law passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton,” Romney said.
Romney had previously supported gay rights, and he is now under fire for his change of opinion on gay rights, abortion and other issues.
In 1994 he sent a letter to a gay Republican group in which he promised to be a defender of civil rights for all and be more of an ally than Sen. Edward Kennedy.”We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern,” wrote Romney.
Romney also said opposes Roe v. Wade and would only appoint justices who would overturn the right to choose. He said he believes abortion should be limited only to cases of rape, incest and to save the mother’s life. This is a reversal in opinion from 1994 when he said, “I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice.”