VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Sept. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Saturday in a speech referring to the Pledge of Allegiance he "will not take God out of" the GOP platform.
Romney -- evidently referring to an incident at the Democratic National Convention in which the word "God" had been left out of, and then inserted into, the party platform -- reminded his audience at a campaign rally in Virginia Beach, Va., "the pledge says 'under God.'"
"I will not take God out of the name of our platform," Romney said to applause from an audience estimated at about 3,000. "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."
President Barack Obama has never proposed removing the word "God" from U.S. currency, Politico noted, and Romney did not argue that the president had done so -- but he said sending him to the White House will ensure the word remains.
The Obama campaign issued a statement saying Romney's comments -- delivered from a stage he shared with conservative televangelist Pat Robertson -- were divisive.
"It's disappointing to see Mitt Romney try to throw a Hail Mary by launching extreme and untrue attacks against the President and associating with some of the most strident and divisive voices in the Republican Party, including Rep. Steve King [R-Iowa] and Pat Robertson," Obama spokesman Lis Smith said. "This isn't a recipe for making America stronger, it's a recipe for division and taking us backward."
Romney campaigned in Iowa Friday with King.
Romney said maintaining military strength will preserve "liberty for all," and said it would "unthinkable" to allow scheduled defense spending cuts proceed under a so-called sequestration that was part of a congressional agreement during debate over the federal debt crisis in 2011.
"The estimates of the kind of numbers of jobs lost in Virginia from these cuts is between 100,000 and 200,000," he told the crowd in Virginia Beach -- located in a region of Virginia that features a heavy concentration of active duty military personnel and defense contractors.
"It's unthinkable to Virginia, to her employment needs but it's also unthinkable to the ability and the commitment of American to maintain our liberty, with liberty for all," he said. "And therefore if I'm president of the United States we're gang to get rid of those sequestrations cuts and rebuild America's military might."
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