By - - ABC NEWS
Added: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 01:36:52 UTC
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Mitt Romney attacked President Obama’s “secular agenda” during a town hall in which he drew contrasts between himself and GOP rival Rick Santorum and defended his stance on conservative social issues for voters still making up their minds before next week’s primary.
“You expect the president of the United States to be sensitive to that freedom and protect it and, unfortunately, perhaps because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda, they have fought against religion,” Romney said, responding to a question about religious freedoms, in particular the Obama administration’s recent controversial attempt to require all institutions, including hospitals and colleges with religious affiliations, to offer free birth control and other contraceptives.
The policy was later rewritten to allow certain institutions to refuse to pay for the contraception and instead allow for private insurance to offer the cost of the coverage.
“I can assure you, as someone who has understood very personally the significance of religious tolerance and religious freedom and the right to one’s own conscience, I will make sure that we never again attack religious liberty in the United States of America,” Romney said, seemingly referring to his own Mormon faith, which has frequently been questioned during his various campaigns.
Romney, who was introduced by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette as “an underdog,” spoke optimistically about his chances in his home state, telling reporters when asked about his state of mind, “Plan on winning, hope to win.”