Gov. Mitt Romney responds to Obama's speech:
Ladies and Gentleman,
I would like to address some of the issues in the campaign that have emerged in the last few days. I know there is a great deal of discussion about infighting amongst the Democrats on issues affecting our fellow Americans in the gay community and I'm sure the Democrats will work things out. I received a gracious call this week from some of my former opponents in the GOP and I'm proud to say that as our party always strives to be a big tent and include differing views, we stand united in our opposition to the troubling path Barack Obama has put us on and we are all very encouraged and hopeful about a bright future together as we work towards a better America. There are several races still ongoing and one race in Indiana introduces a new face to the national stage, Richard Mourdock who will be their nominee for the Senate race. I also wanted to let you know that I spoke to Dick Lugar on the phone today and thanked him for 36 years of service. I asked Dick if he will join us on our mission and he graciously accepted.
In another state, North Carolina passed a law establishing marriage as solely between one man and one woman. I'm not sure if it was by design or not that our Vice President decided to let North Carolina know what he thought of them, but Mr. Biden opened up about his feelings on this issue and this kind of knocked everything else off the President's agenda for the week as he told us he supported the stance of people in the Carolinas and then he did not, and then he did, but he was "Evolving" away from North Carolinians. As usual, the President's old Chicago way campaign strategy of being on both sides of all issues and then hoping the media will provide cover or that we won't notice was clearly in full swing. But after days of crystal clear and transperent policymaking and leadership his "Evolving" settled on his decision to oppose North Carolina. I just hope he doesn't have Eric Holder to sue them like he did when Arizona displeased him, but the Attorney General is busy with criminal charges against him for contempt of congress, so the Mid Atlantic states can rest easy for now.
As I said, the GOP is a big tent. In 1978, just months before running for President, Former Gov. Ronald Reagan stood up on the side of th newly formed Log Cabin Republicans to show his opposition to the Briggs initiative in California, Mr. Reagan had nothing to gain from his high profile opposition and stood to lose quite a bit in some people's eyes. Yet, he stood up for what he believed was right and this act swung political opinion against the initiative that would have fired any school official of any kind for privately expressing support for gay issues. He did not arrive at his position after being pushed or pressured and he did not try to be on both sides. Ronald Reagan showed decisive leadership and people followed his lead, he did not ask people to give him a few months to contemplate his navel so he could evolve. He did not put his finger to the wind and see how it might effect his poll numbers. He acted on principle for what he believed in. And regardless of whether we agree with a candidate or a president, we look for clarity, transparency and character.
In the 2000 Vice Presidential debate, Dick Cheney was asked about gay marriage and although all Republicans at the time did not agree on all facets of the issue, just as they respected Mr. Cheney's views on allowing states to decide, as I do, they respected his candor. It should be noted that the Honorable Joseph Lieberman was very gracious addressing the issue, knowing that Mr. Cheney's daughter was gay. As I noted earlier regarding Dick Lugar, I should take this opportunity to also thank Sen. Lieberman for his dedication and service to his country for over 3 decades. His courageous support of the 2007 Surge which won that war cost him his membership in the Democrat Party and it will always be remembered as a moment of clarity, character and courage to oppose his own party when they were wrong.
Four years later, Vice President Cheney was again asked in a debate by Gwen Ifill what his stance was and he explained his position and not a single Republican took issue with the Cheney. After the Vice President spoke, the Democrat Party's choice for the Vice Presidency, John Edwards, then came out against John Kerry's home state of Massachssets' passage of the law that would require the state to recognize gay marriage. As I said before, as a general principle I think states should be free to choose and as of now, nearly two thirds of states have chosen one man and one woman provisions. At the time I did not favor the decision in our state, but I offered accomodations for an alternative and in the end did my duty in providing marriage licenses. At the time it seemed to some that my position and the Vice President Cheney's position would be considered the more definitive position and the one that demonstrated the big tent of the Republican party of Reagan and Mr. Cheney. After having John Edwards lecturing us about the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, I guess you could say his position evolved. Then you have the Democrat Party's current candidate for Vice President. I can only say, whether by design or not, I'm glad Joe Biden started talking about this issue because it resulted in first he and then after a long wait, his boss deciding to join Dick Cheney and I in a more tolerant approach to people being free to live their lives the way they wish. I just hope Barack Obama stands by his word and keeps his commitment after the election instead of demonstrating that flexibility he told the Russians about.
In closing I respect the wishes of North Carolina. I wish the best to the primary winners in both parties and, I heard Mr. Obama squeeked out a close one in West Virginia, he, he. I think Mr. Obama should call off his dogs in the media that are making jokes about West Virginia and the ballots they submitted. The people voted, a Texas Inmate took 40% of the ballots that could have been Mr. Obama's and mocking their choice is no way to get on their good side. He may want to consider the message they are trying to send instead of trying to spin what the message means.
But thats what its all about, Leadership, Decisiveness, not being on two sides of issues, and respecting the will of the people. It is they that make this country great and it is Liberty that unleashes their greatness. So to the people of West Virginia, the people of Indiana, North Carolina, the candidates on all sides and the many people that have been waiting for decisive leadership in Washington, join me in looking forward to a campaign of ideas and not moving down that same path that has lead us to these difficult times. May god bless you all and may god bless America.
Here is the transcript from the 2004 Cheney-Edwards debate...
IFILL: You have 30 seconds, Mr. Vice President.
CHENEY: Yesterday, the president signed an extension of middle- class tax cuts, the 10 percent bracket, the marriage penalty relief and the increase in the child tax credit.
Senators Kerry and Edwards weren't even there to vote for it when it came to final passage.
IFILL: The next question goes to you, Mr. Vice President.
I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: "Freedom means freedom for everybody." You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks.
Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?
CHENEY: Gwen, you're right, four years ago in this debate, the subject came up. And I said then and I believe today that freedom does mean freedom for everybody. People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It's really no one else's business.
That's a separate question from the issue of whether or not government should sanction or approve or give some sort of authorization, if you will, to these relationships.
Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference.
In effect, what's happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of — the legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage.
And the fact is that the president felt that it was important to make it clear that that's the wrong way to go, as far as he's concerned.
Now, he sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president.
IFILL: Senator Edwards, 90 seconds.
EDWARDS: Yes. Let me say first, on an issue that the vice president said in his last answer before we got to this question, talking about tax policy, the country needs to know that under what they have put in place and want to put in place, a millionaire sitting by their swimming pool, collecting their statements to see how much money they're making, make their money from dividends, pays a lower tax rate than the men and women who are receiving paychecks for serving on the ground in Iraq.
Now, they may think that's right. John Kerry and I do not.
We don't just value wealth, which they do. We value work in this country. And it is a fundamental value difference between them and us.
Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.
And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry.
I also believe that there should be partnership benefits for gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships.
But we should not use the Constitution to divide this country.
No state for the last 200 years has ever had to recognize another state's marriage.
This is using the Constitution as a political tool, and it's wrong.
IFILL: New question, but same subject.
As the vice president mentioned, John Kerry comes from the state of Massachusetts, which has taken as big a step as any state in the union to legalize gay marriage. Yet both you and Senator Kerry say you oppose it.
Are you trying to have it both ways?
EDWARDS: No. I think we've both said the same thing all along.
We both believe that — and this goes onto the end of what I just talked about — we both believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.
But we also believe that gay and lesbians and gay and lesbian couples, those who have been in long-term relationships, deserve to be treated respectfully, they deserve to have benefits.
For example, a gay couple now has a very difficult time, one, visiting the other when they're in the hospital, or, for example, if, heaven forbid, one of them were to pass away, they have trouble even arranging the funeral.
I mean, those are not the kind of things that John Kerry and I believe in. I suspect the vice president himself does not believe in that.
But we don't — we do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
And I want to go back, if I can, to the question you just asked, which is this constitutional amendment.
I want to make sure people understand that the president is proposing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage that is completely unnecessary.
Under the law of this country for the last 200 years, no state has been required to recognize another state's marriage.
Let me just be simple about this. My state of North Carolina would not be required to recognize a marriage from Massachusetts, which you just asked about.
There is absolutely no purpose in the law and in reality for this amendment. It's nothing but a political tool. And it's being used in an effort to divide this country on an issue that we should not be dividing America on.
We ought to be talking about issues like health care and jobs and what's happening in Iraq, not using an issue to divide this country in a way that's solely for political purposes. It's wrong.
IFILL: Mr. Vice President, you have 90 seconds.
CHENEY: Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much.
IFILL: That's it?
CHENEY: That's it.
IFILL: OK, then we'll move on to the next question.
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