Today, in response to calls from People For the American Way  and others, presidential candidate Mitt Romney gently distanced himself from the hateful language regularly pushed by radio host Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association.
In his speech at the Values Voter Summit, Romney stated  :
“Our values ennoble the citizen, and they strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line I think. Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate. The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda, narrow our vision or drive us apart.”
Last week, People For the American Way called on Romney to stand up to Fischer’s long record of bigotry against progressives, LGBT people, Muslims, Native Americans and Mormons. Romney’s need to distance himself from Fischer was especially pressing as Fischer was scheduled to immediately follow Romney at the podium today.
“Mitt Romney clearly realized that his presidential campaign couldn’t ignore the bigotry of Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way . “I’m glad that he saw fit to put at least a small distance between himself and the hate speech regularly pushed by Fischer, even if he couldn’t bring himself to call Fischer out by name. Since he began running for President, Mitt Romney has bent over backwards in a desperate attempt to make himself palatable to the extreme right. At least we’ve seen that there are some things he’s willing to speak out against, no matter how tepid his condemnation may be. It’s disappointing that none of the other candidates have been willing to go even that far.”