Romney Defends Wright Quote: ‘I Stand by What I Said, Whatever It Was’
(WASHINGTON) -- What began as the resurrection of one of the most animated characters in the 2008 campaign on Thursday ended with Mitt Romney being forced to answer to reporters and consequently offer up a flub of an answer on whether he supports negative ads.
After a leaked super PAC proposal to make ads about President Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Romney tried to distance himself from the document, saying it was the “wrong course.”
But a reporter noted that in February, Romney brought up Wright unprompted in an interview -- a clip that Democrats unearthed early in the day.
In the clip, after a sound bite of Obama saying “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation” was played, Romney said he believed Obama didn’t understand “that Judeo Christian philosophy is an integral part of our foundation.”
“I’m not sure which is worse: him listening to Rev. Wright or him saying we must be a less-Christian nation,” Romney said.
Romney’s explanation on Thursday fit right into a frame opponents have tried to put around him -- that he doesn’t know what he supports and what he opposes.
“I’m not familiar with precisely what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was,” Romney said Thursday. “I’ll go back and take a look at what was said there.”
The Obama campaign was, predictably, all over Romney’s stumble.
“Today, Mitt Romney had the opportunity to distance himself from his previous attempts to inject the divisive politics of character assassination into the presidential race,” read a statement from Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. “It was a moment that required moral leadership, and once again he didn’t rise to the occasion.”
The proposal to revive the inflammatory pastor in 2012 ads is likely to end at just that: a proposal and nothing more. A person familiar with the super PAC told ABC News that no plan had been made to make any ads. Making the ads appears even less likely now that the idea has drawn condemnation from the Obama campaign and Romney himself.
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