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Land says Clinton stance is misreported

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Richard Land is asking The Washington Times to set the record straight regarding his assessment of 2008’s potential presidential nominees.

The Times, in an April 16 article, paraphrased the Southern Baptist ethics leader as saying “he’d vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, over Mr. (Rudy) Giuliani if the 2008 presidential race came down to such a choice.”

“Here is another object lesson in the old saying: ‘Don’t trust everything you read,'” Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said in a news release.

Land said he has never indicated he would vote for Clinton for president in the 2008 election.

Land said he has repeatedly identified himself as pro-life and “could never vote for a pro-choice candidate.” Senator Clinton, he said, “is most definitely a pro-choice candidate.”

Land acknowledged that he is on record as having said that if former New York Mayor Giuliani were the Republican presidential nominee, he would not vote in the presidential election for any candidate.

Land also disputed The Times article’s statement that he has taken a “hard line against virtually all the major Republican candidates.”

Land said he has taken a “hard line” with only two Republican candidates, Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. Land stated that his conscience would not allow him to vote for either man because of character issues related to their marital infidelities. Land added that he is “not ethically flexible enough to have made President Clinton’s marital infidelities a character issue and then give Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Gingrich a pass.”

Land confirmed The Times’ characterization of his outlook toward Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz. Many evangelicals are concerned about McCain’s “unpredictability,” Land said, and they “don’t have any real confidence about where McCain is going to come down on issues of importance to them, like embryonic stem cell research and the federal Marriage Protection Amendment.”

Concerning Mitt Romney, another GOP candidate, Land said he is on record as believing that the former Massachusetts governor should address “the Mormonism issue in a speech similar to the one then-Sen. John F. Kennedy gave to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September 1960” regarding his Catholicism.

Land has said he doesn’t believe Romney’s Mormon faith necessarily is a “deal breaker,” but that only Romney is the only one who can make a majority of Americans comfortable with voting for a Mormon for president.

Land said he has “made it clear for more than a decade that people should vote their values, beliefs and convictions.”

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