UPDATE: Despite her name appearing as a speaker on Friday just before 12:15 PM at the Values Voters Summit, as the screenshot above, shows, the Romney campaign now states “”Mrs. Romney is not scheduled to attend VVS this weekend,” and adds, “it has not been on our schedule,” Buzzfeed has reported this evening. Which begs the question, is the Family Research Council adding people to their schedule without confirming them, and if so, are they doing it intentionally to seem like they have the support of people they may not?
Buzzfeed, as we also reported, adds:
As of Tuesday evening, the online schedule for the conference, which is hosted by the Family Research Council (FRC), still had Mrs. Romney attending the Friday morning plenary session, from 8:40 a.m. to noon.
The remainder of our report, below, is presented as originally published.
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Ann Romney is scheduled to speak at the Values Voters Summit this weekend, according to multiple reports. The Values Voters Summit is an annual event hosted by FRC Action — the lobbying wing of the Family Research Council — and sponsored by the Family Research Council and the American Family Association‘s AFA Action, along with the Heritage Foundation, Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Gary Bauer‘s American Values, and Mat Staver‘s Liberty Council. Both the Family Research Council and the American Family Association are certified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as anti-gay hate groups.
While conspicuously not on the list of speakers is Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Josh Glasstetter at Right Wing Watch reported this evening that Ann Romney’s name appears on the schedule at both the Values Voters Summit website and the National Journal’s Daybook.
It’s an odd move by the Romney campaign. They’ve previously deployed her to show the softer side of Mitt. Now they’re sending her to stand on stage with a man who paid $83,000 to use David Duke’s mailing list and addressed a white supremacist group while in public office. The same person – Tony Perkins – also praised a law in Uganda to execute gays and warned senators they would have “the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands” if they repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
The Romney campaign must have its reasons, but it sure seems like an odd way to deploy Ann Romney. They already have Paul Ryan scheduled to address the conference. Do they really need two headliners reaching out to the Bachmann-Akin wing of the party? Besides, just last week Ann Romney refused to answer questions about same-sex marriage and contraception, dismissing them as distractions ”from what the real voting issue is going to be.”
For weeks, the Values Voter Summit website listed Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as invited speakers. When Ryan was added to the ticket in August, the Family Research Council blasted out an email confirming Ryan’s appearance. No one really expected Mitt Romney to show for the event – too radical, too close to the election. That’s why, when the conference schedule was recently posted, it was a shock to see not only “Romney” on the lineup, but Ann Romney.
Ryan and Ann Romney, if she appears, will be speaking on stage with Perkins in a lineup that includes Kirk Cameron and Michele Bachmann. They’ll be kicking off a conference that features a who’s who of Todd Akin backers (e.g. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Steve King) and anti-Muslim McCarthyites (e.g. Frank Gaffney and Jerry Boykin). And, of course, there will be gay-bashers – featured speakers like Perkins and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who recently defended Malawi’s law criminalizing homosexuality. They would push for the same thing here in America if they thought they could pull it off. In fact, FRC’s Peter Sprigg and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer have already done so.
These aren’t conservative people pushing conservative values and policies – this is the radical right. America, and the Romney campaign in all likelihood, would be better served if Romney and Ryan followed Dolan’s example and skipped the conference. Or they can go cast their lot with the extremists with the national media looking on. We’ll see what their priorities are this Friday morning.
As The New Civil Rights Movement reported earlier today, the Southern Poverty Law Center teamed up with six other human rights organizations, asking Paul Ryan and other politicos to forgo the conference and to “not to lend the prestige of your office to the summit.”
On the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, the letter states, “the Family Research Council (FRC), has consistently spread demonizing lies about the LGBT community, and one of its co-sponsors, the American Family Association (AFA), has linked homosexuality to the Holocaust.”
The letter, sent jointly by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Faithful America, GLAAD, HRC, National Black Justice Coalition, National Council of La Raza, and the People For The American Way Foundation, represents the efforts of a growing trend of like-minded activist organizations working toward common goals.
The Values Voters Summit attendees and speakers list has been a moving target. Here’s a screenshot from a Google cache from just one week ago, showing Mitt Romney as a speaker. His name has since disappeared.
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