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In a commencement speech at Liberty University on Saturday, Romney focused on his faith and the importance of religious freedom. He only briefly alluded to the issue of marriage equality but it was the one line in Romney’s speech that brought the crowd of more than 30,000 to its feet. Romney praised the “enduring institution of marriage,” reaffirming that he believes “marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Romney advisers made it clear the presumptive Republican nominee wanted to deliver a commencement address and thus avoid talking about the day-to-day campaign. They say that while Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage will ultimately benefit Romney, it isn’t something that his campaign needs to address now, writes the New York Times.
The speech overall was light on campaign rhetoric except for one comment in which Romney suggested that those graduating from Liberty had accomplished more than the president in four years, points out the Hill. “Let’s just say that not everybody has achieved as much in these last four years as you have,” Romney said. “But that’s a theme for another day.”
Although Romney never stated that he is a Mormon, he still made it clear he knew many in the audience were skeptical of his beliefs. Politico characterizes Romney’s speech as an “olive branch of sorts to evangelical Christians.”
“People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology,” Romney said. “Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.
His deeply religious, not to mention personal, speech marked a “significant departure for a candidate who is typically most at ease touring manufacturing facilities, participating in economic roundtables, and talking about data in power point presentations,” writes the Boston Globe.