(VIDEO) Maddow speculates ‘awkward’ encounter between Fischer and Romney at Values Voter Summit
Blogs lit up late last week, when it became apparent that even though the American Family Association’s (AFA) Bryan Fischer is not listed as a scheduled speaker at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, Fischer will be there to speak, directly after GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow dedicated a segment of her show Friday to the potential awkwardness that might occur when Fischer follows Romney on Saturday, given the former is outspoken in his views against the LGBT community, Muslims and Mormons, and Romney is a Mormon.
“That is particularly awkward this year,” Maddow said, “because not only has Bryan Fischer managed to be outlandishly all-caps bigoted against every other group in America that you can think of, but … Bryan Fischer is really specifically bigoted against the Mormon church and against Mormons.”
More awkward than being Mormon, Romney is a mainstream Republican presidential candidate trying to court both the Republican Party and conservative establishments, Maddow said.
People for the American Way’s (PFAW) Right Wing Watch reported last week on Fischer’s radio show, where he said that the First Amendment does not apply to Mormons and that polygamy likely “will come back” to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
Right before last year’s Values Voter Summit, PFAW sent letters to Romney and six other conservative leaders speaking at the event, asking them to denounce publicly Fischer’s statements against Muslims and the gay community.
In last week’s post, Right Wing Watch’s Kyle Mantyla writes:
[W]e are once again asking Republican leaders who will be attending the upcoming Values Voter Summit to denounce Bryan Fischer’s long history of unmitigated bigotry. This time we are focusing on Mitt Romney because, according to the conference schedule, he will be speaking immediately before Fischer on Saturday morning.
Our efforts in the past to get someone, anyone within the GOP or Religious Right to condemn Fischer’s relentless bigotry have not amounted to much, mainly because nobody within the movement seems to be particularly bothered by it, which is why GOP leaders continue to appear on his radio program and on stage with him at Religious Right events.
This year — as in years past — political leaders and presidential hopefuls have not responded to criticisms of AFA, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates a hate group, attending the Values Voter Summit.
Mother Jones recently put it this way:
Republican candidates have consistently played political footsie with Fischer, despite his extremism. Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain have all appeared on Fischer’s radio program, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry co-hosted a prayer rally in Houston in August with Fischer’s organization, the American Family Association. Romney’s appearance at the Values Voters Summit might help him court social conservative voters who play an outsized role in Republican primaries. But the appearance is a reminder that even a prominent Republican who has tried to stay clear of fringe right-wing conspiracy theories like those peddled by Fischer cannot succeed within the GOP without hobnobbing with extremists.
Fischer has not had many nice things to say about Romney publicly.
In a recent tweet, Fischer called Romney a “phony” and “not a true conservative.”
And in Saturday’s RenewAmerica column, Fischer criticized presidential contender Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his policy allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for in-state tuition. Fischer said Perry “needs to restore the confidence of grassroots Americans the he is the best alternative,” noting that “there is a deep and well-justified resistance among conservatives to Mitt Romney.”
Watch a clip from the Rachel Maddow show: