On Saturday, Gov. Mitt Romney talked about resistance at the Democratic National Convention to re-inserting a mention of God in the party platform. “For me,” said Romney, “the Pledge of Allegiance and placing our hand over our heart reminds us of the blood that was shed by our sons and daughters fighting for our liberty and sharing liberty with people around the world. The pledge says ‘under God.’ I will not take God out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart. We’re a nation that’s bestowed by God.”
The media immediately seized on Romney’s comments as proof that Romney was implying that President Obama wants to remove mentions of God from the coinage. In fact, media members asked Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki exactly that question; she answered, “Look, this is nothing more than a desperate attack based on a false premise by the Romney team and its sad that the debate has been driven to this level of discourse.” Jay Carney added, “The president believes as much that god should be taken off a coin as he does that aliens will attack Florida. It’s an absurd question to be raised. There’s a period when the argument is not going your way… and you begin to see random issues thrown up like spaghetti against the wall to see if anything can stick. I wouldn’t say based on my experience covering presidential campaigns that that has ever worked as a strategy.”
Now, Romney never even implied that Obama wanted to remove God from the pledge or the coinage. He simply stated his deep support for the role of God in our public discourse – a position at odds with large swaths of the Democratic Party base, and at odds with President Obama. The fact remains that President Obama is significantly more uncomfortable with the invocation of God in public life than Romney is. That’s why back in November 2011, Obama singled out a House vote to reaffirm the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.” And just the year before, Obama mistakenly said our national motto is “E pluribus unum.”
After saying that the House shouldn’t spend time reaffirming “In God We Trust,” Obama added, “the phrase from the Bible is, ‘The lord helps those who helps themselves.’” Except that phrase isn’t from the Bible.
Does Obama have a God problem? Absolutely. And it’s that broader issue that Romney was seeking to highlight.