The Washington Post

In debate, opposing positions came down to one word: Responsibility

The question is: Does the God vote matter?  Mitt Romney’s advisers seem to think so. President Obama’s do not. For the second debate, Romney has remarked that we are all children of the same God.  Obama has taken a pass. Romney has to appeal to the evangelicals, mostly Republican, who are suspicious of Mormons.  Obama has clearly decided that the 17 percent of voters who believe he is a Muslim will simply have to go on believing it.

For both of them Tuesday night, their opposing positions came down to one word: Responsibility.

A member of the audience, Barry, asked the same question of both candidates. “What do you think is the biggest misrepresentation that the American people have about you as a man or a candidate?”

Romney saw his opportunity, remote though it was, to bring up religion. “My passion,“ he said, “probably flows from the fact that I believe in God. And I believe we are all children of the same God. I believe we have a responsibility to care for one another.” That wasn’t enough. “I-I served as a  missionary for my church” he went on.” I served as a pastor in my congregation for about 10 years.”

What was fascinating was that he used the word “pastor”, a word generally used by evangelicals.  In fact, Romney was a “bishop” in his church.

“I’ve sat across the table from people who were out of work and worked with them to try and find new work or to help them through tough times,” he continued.

That’s where he should have stopped. But he chose to remind the millions of viewers of his unfortunate, and, he now concedes, “wrong” statement that 47 percent of Americans don’t take responsibility for themselves.  “I care about 100 percent of the American people,” he said.

Obama looked at that moment like he truly believed in God.

“I believe Governor Romney is a good man,” he said, sympathetically.” Loves his family, cares about his faith. But I also believe that when he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country considered themselves as victims who refuse personal responsibility, think who he was talking about.”  Obama went on to mention those on social security, veterans and students. He didn’t even have to quote Jesus Christ’s admonition to care for “the least of these,” as he has done before. It was implicit.

President Obama has made a choice. He is forcing Romney take responsibility for his remarks about the 47 percent, he is defending the 47 percent, by denying that they don’t take responsibility, and he is offering to take responsibility for those who can’t take it for themselves.  

He’s leaving God to Romney. Let’s see if it works.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.