Monday, November 5, 2012

Ryan says Obama's policies threaten 'Judeo-Christian values'
hours ago  

By NBC's Alex Moe
CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Less than 48 hours before polls open on Election Day, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan gave a firm warning to a group of evangelical Christians Sunday night: President Barack Obama’s policies jeopardize Judeo-Christian values. 

"And in these critical battleground states, it's going to make the big difference as to whether or not people are worried about where America's headed, worried about whether we're going to reassert our Constitution, or whether or not we're going to go down the path the president has put us on," Ryan said speaking on a Faith and Freedom Coalition tele-townhall with thousands of voters across the country.

He continued, "It's a dangerous path, it's a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, western-civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place."

A Ryan campaign spokesman told NBC News about Ryan’s comments: "He was talking about issues like religious liberty and ObamaCare - topics he has mentioned frequently during the campaign." 

Mitt Romney has also shared similar comments about Judeo-Christian values, such as during his commencement address at Liberty University in May 2012.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition is an influential evangelical grassroots organization headed by Ralph Reed. The tele-town hall tonight was only advised by the group and never by the Romney campaign. It was a call that had been re-scheduled at least once due to scheduling conflicts. Ryan fielded questions from several callers in between campaign rallies in Minnesota and Colorado.

Asked by a caller from Florida about how his faith has helped him as Romney’s running mate, Ryan said it “sustains” and “humbles” him.

“We [Ryan’s family] pray throughout the day. I keep a rosary in my pocket, whatever jacket I've got, and I'm given so many prayers from people,” the Wisconsin congressman said. “I'm one of those people who don't think you can separate your faith from your public life as an official from your private life. It informs you, it guides you, it makes you who you are, and it gives you great peace. First prayer I say every morning is the Serenity prayer.”

Ryan also noted he received an email from his pastor in Janesville, Wis. tonight with the words: “have no fear.” “And that's how the Lord sustains me. No fear,” Ryan added.

Paul Ryan Says Obama Threatens ‘Judeo-Christian Values’ With Health Care Plan

Yesterday at 11:22 PM

By Adam Martin

In public, Paul Ryan's attacks on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) have been largely economic ones, from that viral video of him arguing to the president in person that the plan merely hides spending and doesn't cut it, to his speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he argued, falsely, that the plan would raid Medicare. But in a conference call with evangelical voters on Sunday he changed tack dramatically, claiming a second Obama term would compromise "those Judeo-Christian values that made us a great nation in the first place."

The telephone town hall with the Faith and Freedom Coalition wasn't exactly a secret. Politico, NBC, and Buzzfeed have all posted stories on it, and Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel tweeted about it, not to mention the fact that it drew thousands of participants. But as Buzzfeed's Zeke Miller pointed out, the call "did not appear on his public schedule," which suggests the campaign didn't want to make it a media event.

There are a few angles to this that are worth considering. The first is that this is some pretty unhinged rhetoric for a candidate seeking national office. It's expected that Ryan would condemn President Obama's agenda, but to argue that the agenda threatens the values of "western civilization" is qualitatively different. It's the kind of extremism we might expect from a televangelist, not a vice presidential candidate two days before an election.

Second, the tele-townhall event was organized by the Faith and Freedom Coalition -- the group formed by disgraced Republican lobbyist Ralph Reed. Common sense might suggest the Romney campaign would keep its distance from such a scandal-plagued figure, but for months, the Republican ticket has done the opposite.

And finally, all of this serves as a reminder of the part of Ryan's persona that's often overlooked: the so-called budget wonk is also a fierce culture warrior.

The perceptions of Ryan in much of the media notwithstanding, Ryan has fought against contraception access; he's worked with Todd Akin to redefine rape; he believes the government should force women impregnated by rape or incest to carry their pregnancies to term; he co-sponsored a "Personhood" measure that would ban in-vitro fertilization and some forms of birth control; and twice voted for a constitutional amendment to prevent marriage equality.

It's with this record in mind that Ryan tells the religious right that the White House is at odd with "Judeo-Christian" values. The rhetoric is only surprising to those who forget what a culture warrior this guy really is. 
But calling the president a threat to people's very religious values is the kind of hyperventilating paranoia that a candidate should maybe stay away from here in the waning days of the campaign.

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