LYNCHBURG Va. -- The late Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. would be proud that Mitt Romney, aMormon, will deliver Saturday's commencement address at LibertyUniversity, says a Romney adviser who serves on Liberty's board oftrustees. "This would be a proud day for Jerry Falwell," Mark DeMoss,chairman of the Liberty board's executive committee, told CNNtoday. |
Falwell, who founded the evangelical Christian university inLynchburg, met the former governor at Romney's Massachusetts homemonths before Falwell died in May 2007, said DeMoss, who waspresent at that meeting. "He had a lot or respect and admiration for him," DeMoss said. As for Saturday's commencement: "He loved these kinds of days wherethe university could be on display to a large audience and to hosta prominent leader, which the governor certainly is. So this washis kind of day." The campaigns of President Barack Obama and Romney view Virginia,with 13 electoral votes, as a key swing state. The president andthe first lady held a rally last Saturday at Virginia CommonwealthUniversity's Siegel Center.
First lady Michelle Obama delivers acommencement address tomorrow at Virginia Tech. Romney recently campaigned in Fairfax County and in Portsmouth. Healso held a Northern Virginia fundraiser. CNN noted that some Liberty students have noted on Facebook thatthey disapprove of the invitation to Romney because of his Mormonfaith. In recent years a majority of Liberty University's commencementspeakers have been from outside the evangelical Christian faith andRomney is the third Mormon to address a Liberty commencement,DeMoss said.
"We think students, in most part, would like to hear from someonewho very well could be the next president of the United States andit's a great opportunity." Speaking of the president and Romney, DeMoss said, "One of thesetwo men will be the next president of the United States. Peopleneed to look at these two." DeMoss said he thinks the president's statement Wednesday ofunequivocal support for gay marriage will increase evangelicals'support for Romney. "I think it will push a significant majority of them closer tohim," DeMoss said. The economy remains a key issue, but "we have a clear contrast thatwas maybe less clear previously.".
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