Romney: 'I will not take God out of our platform'

Mitt Romney weighed in for the first time on the Democratic platform initially removing the word “God," saying that was something he would never do.

Romney began a campaign appearance in Virginia Beach, Va. on Saturday by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before turning to the platform controversy.

“That pledge says “under God,” and I will not take God out of our platform,” Romney said to cheers. “I will not take God off our coins, and I will not take God out of my heart.”

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During their convention in Charlotte, the Democrats' platform was changed from 2008 to remove references to God. But after criticism, party leaders decided Wednesday to put God back into their platform — but not before one of the most awkward moments of their convention.

The Democrats proposed an amendment both to reinsert God and a clause stating Jerusalem was the capital of Israel — which also was criticized after it was removed — but it took the Democrats three voice votes to actually approve the change, as the “yay” votes were met with near equal opposition with loud “nos” and some boos. The president's campaign said Obama called for “God” and “Jerusalem” to be re-inserted into the platform when he learned they had been removed.

On Saturday the Obama campaign called Romney's comments divisive and untrue.

“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 and Pat Robertson," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement.

In his campaign speech in Virginia, a military-heavy state that’s a big battleground, Romney also focused on defense issues and the impending sequestration cuts.

Romney touted his plan to boost shipbuilding and to roll back the reduction of 100,000 service members that are included in the Pentagon’s 2013 budget, which starts a 10-year $487 billion reduction.

“I will not cut our military. I will maintain our military commitment,” Romney said.

The GOP nominee also declared that he would not allow the sequestration cuts to occur, although they are currently law and would take effect Jan. 2, three weeks before Romney would be sworn into office.

Romney criticized President Obama for sequestration, touting a detail from Bob Woodward’s new book on the debt-limit negotiations that says the White House came up with the idea.

Romney cited industry studies that say the sequestration cuts, which would reduce the defense budget by $492 billion over the next decade, would cost Virginia between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs.

Both Republicans and Democrats, including Obama, do not want the sequestration cuts to occur, but the two parties are deadlocked over how to replace the sequestration cuts.

Sequestration, which was included in the 2011 Budget Control Act approved by Congress and signed by the president, became law when the supercommittee failed last November to agree on a deficit-reduction plan.

The issue has spilled into the campaign — particularly in states like Virginia — with Romney and Republicans blaming Obama for the potential cuts. Obama has responded by accusing Republicans of allowing the military cuts to occur in order to protect tax cuts for the wealthy.

This story was last updated at 3:02 p.m.

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