Romney Makes His Pitch for the Values Voters: Family! Family! Family!

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It’s Romney Time! The former Massachusetts governor takes the stage to a standing ovation here at the Washington Briefing. Let’s go with a quasi-liveblog, shall we?

He starts hammering the family values message right from the beginning. With little prelude, he says, “I think those that know me would say that I am pro-family on every level, from the personal to the political.” He then mentions his 45 children and 8,000 grandkids. Wait, it’s more like five and 11. But it’s high.

Romney is Mike Huckabee’s top competitor for the free-floating Brownback votes. His gameplan for winning them: family, family, family. He’s been speaking for fifteen minutes already, and it’s been nothing but extolling the virtues of family. Apparently, the strength of America’s families will determine our place in the “family of nations.” (I could have sworn that had something to do with the military-industrial complex. But what do I know? I don’t have 45 kids.) Also, “it really is time to make out-of-wedlock birth out of fashion again.” So don’t buy illegitimate kids for your fall wardrobe.

I will say this about Romney—though he doesn’t seem concerned with anything but families, he is speaking in concretes. He wants to revise the tax code to encourage marriage. He’ll use the bully pulpit to lower the number of out-of-wedlock births (presumably by raising the stigma with being a single mother or father). He isn’t going to find time to mention health care or Iraq, but at least he’s not just BSing his way through this speech.

Okay, more specifics. He’s slamming the Massachusetts court decision that “got the ball rolling” on gay marriage. Now he’s attacking stem cell research. Now he’s promising to raise adoption rates. Now he’s confirming the “culture of life” and condemning abortion. Now he’s promising to “fight the modern plague, internet pornography.” Now he’s promising not to give child molesters who use the internet to prey on kids more than one chance. Do we do that currently?

School choice! Charter schools! Homeschooling! Reform the tax code! Affirm the place of faith in our public discourse!

Oh, wait, he might be confronting the religious right’s discomfort with his Mormon faith. “I understand that some people believe they couldn’t support someone of my faith,” he says. “I’m so happy so many people of faith have come to endorse my campaign.”

Oops, now we’re off again. He’s not going to get into the Mormon thing. He mentions the three-legged stool of Ronald Reagan—I think we’ve got a culprit on the anonymous flier.

And we’re back full circle. More on the family, and how it’s necessary to strengthen America. The crowd loves it. Romney gets a standing ovation on the way out, just like he did on the way in. Hey Rudy, you are so screwed.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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