Romney has temper tantrum while trying to explain his faith-and-politics address to reporters—apparently no one gets it—conclusion: Romney needs to issue another speech to clarify his first speech
“DES MOINES, Iowa — Romney got aggressive with reporters after a military-focused event early this afternoon,” writes NBC/NJ’s Erin McPike in a FirstRead post titled Testy Romney Press Conference
Several times Romney tried to move on from reporters trying to ask follow-ups or not take certain questions in one of the largest and testiest gaggles he’s had on the trail. He was deluged with questions about his speech, and specifically about the line, “freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom.”
“It was a speech on faith in America, first of all,” Romney said. He said he was paraphrasing what John Adams and George Washington have said and added that “For a nation like ours to be great and to thrive, that our constitution was written for people of faith, and religion is a very extraordinary element and very necessary foundation for our nation. I believe that’s the case.”
Near the end of press conference here after an Ask Mitt Anything town hall, he was asked if he thought a non-spiritual person could be a free person, and he returned with: “Of course not, that’s not what I said.” Pressed again about the freedom requiring religion line, he said, “I was talking about the nation.”
He was also pressed about the politics of his speech and reiterated, “You know, that’s not what the speech was about,” and then again said it was about the role of faith in America …
Marc Ambinder describes Romney’s meltdown a little differently:
DES MOINES — Maybe it was a way of saying, “Welcome to the Big Time.” Mitt Romney held his first media avail — we like to shorten words like “availability,” which itself is a fancy word for “press conference” shortly after a stop at Ft. Des Moines, where Ronald Reagan became a 2nd lieutenant. The questions came fast and none were softballs.
Matt Stuart of ABC News wanted to know why Romney excluded people of no faith from his “freedom requires religion” formulation. Romney was a little testy, explaining that he meant that religion seeded the value of freedom for the country.
Jonathan Martin asked Romney whether he thought his speech would help calm evangelical concerns in Iowa. Romney wouldn’t bite …