In an October 23 article noting criticisms of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) made by Republican presidential candidates during an October 21 debate, Newsday's Tom Brune described former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) as "the family values candidate," suggesting that other candidates -- Democratic or Republican -- are not "the family values candidate." Brune wrote: "Romney, the family values candidate, jabbed at her with phrasing that evoked the liaison that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had with intern Monica Lewinsky." While Brune did not explain what specific policies Romney embraced that make him "the family values candidate," Media Matters for America has noted numerous instances of media figures equating "conservative" positions with "family values" or "pro-family" positions.
As Media Matters noted, on the June 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, while discussing Romney, CNN anchor John Roberts said to host Wolf Blitzer: "[A]s the Reverend Jerry Falwell said before his death, 'As long as a candidate is pro-life and pro-family, he's all right with me.' We do definitely know that Mitt Romney is pro-family." Roberts added: "The jury is still out among some conservatives as to whether or not he is in fact pro-life or remains, as he was as governor of Massachusetts, quote, 'effectively pro-choice.' "
On the January 20 edition of ABC's World News Saturday, while discussing Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-KS) January 20 announcement that he would run for president, ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos asserted that "there is a bit of an opening for [Brownback] on the Republican side" to "try to carve out his place as a true conservative, true social conservative, the man most committed to pro-life, pro-family values." On the February 5 edition of MSNBC Live, during a discussion of an executive order signed by Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) mandating that, beginning in September 2008, all sixth-grade girls receive Gardasil -- a vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer -- host Chris Jansing introduced one of her guests, Andy Schlafly, as "a counsel for Eagle Forum, a conservative, pro-family organization." Additionally, on the October 3, 2006, edition of The Situation Room, CNN chief national correspondent John King twice equated "pro-family voters" with "conservatives."
Media Matters for America has also documented several instances of the media characterizing conservative or Republican voters or candidates as representing "values" or as campaigning on "Christian values." Most recently, in an October 20 article, Washington Post staff writer Michael D. Shear wrote that Brownback's departure from the Republican presidential race "was a disappointment to many" at the Family Research Council-organized "Values Voter Summit," adding, "Brownback had spent much of his campaign talking about Christian values and stressing his stance against abortion." Shear did not explain what the term "Christian values" meant or how it related to Brownback's campaign.
From the October 23 Newsday article:
Romney, the family values candidate, jabbed at her with phrasing that evoked the liaison that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had with intern Monica Lewinsky.
"She has never run anything," he said. "The idea that she could learn to be president, you know, as an internship, just doesn't make any sense."
A Romney aide dismissed the notion that was innuendo.
Giuliani, who campaigns on his ability to defeat Clinton, rejected polls in the battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio showing him behind.
"Almost every one of them is within the statistical margin of error," he said. "If those polls are correct, then the president of the United States right now is John Kerry."
Mike Huckabee, a rising favorite of social conservatives, joked, then turned somber.
Noting the reaction at the mention of her name, he said, "I like to be funny ... There's nothing funny about Hillary Clinton being president," predicting higher taxes, government-run health care, a low-morale military and sagging U.S. resolve.
Thompson, portraying himself as the GOP's true conservative, called Clinton "a good applause line," but said Republicans should get back to "the basics," adding, "Let's don't get diverted onto some single individual, whoever their nominee is."