By Meg Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, DC, November 7, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Mitt Romney's campaign for President received a major shot in the arm on Monday in the form of an official endorsement from well-known conservative leader and chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, Paul Weyrich. Despite a lingering uncertainty for many conservatives about Romney's authentic conservative persona due to his notorious 'flip-flopping' in recent years, Weyrich's endorsement joins a growing number of similar Romney endorsements from other notable conservative leaders.
Weyrich is the founder of the Heritage Foundation and current chairman of the Free Congress Foundation. He is considered a major leader by most in conservative circles and has written and worked for years to bolster both the social and religious conservative movements in America.
For Mitt Romney, Weyrich's endorsement is monumental. From the very onset of the campaign trail, Romney's campaign has worked feverishly to portray the candidate as the only suitable, and viable, contender worthy of the conservative vote.
To that end, Romney has previously vied for similar endorsements from other conservative leaders. With Weyrich's endorsement, the Romney campaign can more realistically hope to attract further endorsements and, perhaps eventually, the necessary conservative votes to win the Republican nomination.
From the very early days of the campaign trail, the 2008 primary race has been frequently muddied with accusations that the leading Republican candidates are, in fact, barely more socially conservative than the leading Democrats. For example, leading GOP contender, Rudy Guiliani has publicly admitted to being pro-abortion and pro-gay rights and just last week Fred Thompson admitted that he would not run on the pro-life platform of the Republican party because that would, in effect, criminalize "young girls and perhaps their parents as aiders and abettors…"
Weyrich's endorsement took some conservatives by surprise as just recently Weyrich published an article which did not seem to portray the same degree of confidence in Romney's record or abilities. Referring to Romney, Weyrich said, "If he had not flip-flopped and were not a Mormon he would be the ideal candidate. He yet may be. He looks and sounds like a President."
Weyrich Addresses Romney's Flip-Flopping
When asked if Romney's history of 'flip-flopping' on life issues in the past concerned him, Weyrich told LifeSiteNews, "I am concerned about it but I have spoken with him at length and I am convinced that he has sincerely converted to the pro-life side and consequently will be with us if elected President. I understand he has flip-flopped but a lot of politicians have. I take the man at his word. I think he has a lot of ability to present himself to the American public."
As Gorver Norquist of the Americans for Tax Reform commented to The Boston Globe, "Weyrich's endorsement will speak loudly to conservatives in general - guys who care about guns and taxes and everything else, but especially religious conservatives."
In the official endorsement statement issued by Romney's campaign office, Weyrich was quoted saying, "Governor Romney has outlined a blueprint to build a stronger America rooted in our common conservative principles. With a clear conservative vision to move America forward, he will strengthen our economy, our military, and our families."
In an earlier NewsMax interview, Weyrich had referred to Romney as someone who "could be supported" and "the best campaigner." Weyrich said, "I think he is somebody who is rushing toward the movement trying to present himself as a conservative and in some ways it's more useful to have somebody like that."
Weyrich also explained to LifeSiteNews that he thought Romney could present a realistic challenge should Senator Clinton receive the Democratic nomination. "Half the country doesn't like her and, as a consequence, any Republican would have a chance against her. Right now [Romney] is down in the polls but he was down in the polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina and he has come up. I think given time and given the resources that he has, I think he will be able to present himself to the American public."
Weyrich Wants to Stop Giuliani From Getting Nomination
Weyrich also offered justification of his endorsement saying, "I felt the race would boil down to Giuliani verse Romney and I certainly do not support Giuliani. I felt there probably would be an effect if Romney wins New Hampshire and now it looks like he has a shot at winning South Carolina and if all that happens it is going to have an effect on Super Tuesday so I felt he would be the best candidate to stop Giuliani"
Weyrich has been quoted in several other articles voicing his opposition to Giuliani saying, "I'm not for Giuliani. I want to try to stop him from getting the nomination."
When asked about possible resistance that Romney might face in regards to his Mormon religion, Weyrich admitted that that could be one of the biggest problems of the campaign. "[H]e has got to make sure that the American public understands we are not electing him head of the Baptist convention - we are electing him President of the United States and what is important are his public policy decisions - beyond his theological stance."
Others Not so Confident About Romney on Abortion and Homosexuality
While Weyrich expressed confidence in Romney's ability to stay strong to his recently found pro-life convictions especially if he can surround himself with supportive personnel, Brian Camenker of MassResistance.org had no such confidence.
Camenker told LifeSiteNews, "Look at the record. His transition team in Massachusetts included the most prolific gay activist in the state and not a single actual conservative."
Camenker said that, since the announcement of Weyrich's endorsement, he has been swamped with emails expressing disappointment in the news.
Referring to Weyrich's endorsement, Camenker commented, "A lot of people feel that this represents the death of the conservative movement in America in many ways. Paul Weyrich signed our letter to Mitt Romney, he knows intimately how Mitt Romney subverted the constitution of Massachusetts in regards to homosexual marriage. He signed a letter that basically rebuked Romney for all of that."
"It's a complete sell-out to principle. One of the things that the conservative movement has represented is standing by principle no matter what and what he [Weyrich] is essentially saying is that Mitt Romney seems one of the least offensive of the top tier Republicans, so I am going to support him anyway. By saying I am going to take the lesser of several evils, that is how we got ourselves in the mess that we are in."
Many conservative throughout the nation have mobilized across the nation to strongly remind the Republican party that social conservativism on life and family issues must be a strong characteristic of any possible nominee if they hope to garner the conservative vote.
Influential James Dobson Has Not Yet Endorsed Any Candidate
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family has not officially endorsed a candidate for the election and has been vocal about the possibility of supporting a third-party candidate should the GOP nomination go to candidate that has not been consistently pro-life.
In an October opinion piece, he wrote, "I firmly believe that the selection of a president should begin with a recommitment to traditional moral values and beliefs. Those include the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage, and other inviolable pro-family principles. Only after that determination is made can the acceptability of a nominee be assessed."
Without giving any inclination as to his candidate of preference, Dobson continued saying, "The other approach, which I find problematic, is to choose a candidate according to the likelihood of electoral success or failure. Polls don't measure right and wrong; voting according to the possibility of winning or losing can lead directly to the compromise of one's principles. In the present political climate, it could result in the abandonment of cherished beliefs that conservative Christians have promoted and defended for decades. Winning the presidential election is vitally important, but not at the expense of what we hold most dear."
If Romney Wins Nomination Strong Promises Must be Obtained From Him
When asked by NewsMax for his opinion on the possibility of supporting a third party candidate should Giuliani obtain the nomination, Weyrich said, "If he does get it, and I'm not sure that he will, it seems to me that we need to negotiate with him and determine whether or not we can pin down a whole series of promises that he would make [and then make] a judgment as to whether those promises are any good."
Romney also holds favorable endorsements from other conservative leaders such as Mary Ann Glendon, newly nominated US ambassador to the Holy See, Bob Jones, Jack Willke and well-known pro-life lawyer James Bopp, Jr.
Robertson Stuns Conservatives With Endorsement of Giuliani
However, just this week influential evangelist Pat Robertson shocked many in conservative circles by endorsing Rudy Giuliani calling him "more than acceptable to people of faith." Surprisingly, Robertson dismissed concerns over Giuliani's very liberal social views on life and family saying that they "pale into insignificance" when compared to Giuliani's ability to address the issue of terrorism.
Operation Rescue is so incensed with Robertson's move that it has called for a protest outside Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network studios on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
In a press release Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry states, "Rudy has perfect credentials on social issues like child-killing, partial birth abortion, federal funding for 'poor women' to have abortions, and so-called homosexual marriage or civil unions…"
In similar news, former presidential candidate Sam Brownback officially offered his endorsement to Senator John McCain praising him for consistently "standing up for human rights around the world, including a consistent 24-year pro-life record of protecting the rights of the unborn." Brownback's official statement asserted that, "John McCain is the only candidate who can rally the Reagan coalition of conservatives, independents and conservative Democrats needed to defeat Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat in the general election next year."
See the entire NewsMax article:
Weyrich: I Want to Stop Giuliani
Read Previous LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Romney Violated Massachusetts Constitution by Ordering 'Same-Sex Marriage'
Despite Past Statements, Former Gov. and Presidential Hopeful Romney Says He is Pro-Life
"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"