The fates are aligning for Romney to make a successful pitch when he delivers the commencement address Saturday at the Christian college Jerry Falwell founded.
On Saturday, the stage is set for Mitt Romney to deliver a powerful message straight into the heart of the Christian Right when he delivers the 39th Commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
With an anticipated audience of 34,000 -- more than 14,000 graduating students, along with their families, friends, and scores of reporters -- thronging the stands and packing the field at the Williams Stadium football arena on the Evangelical school's campus, many observers expect the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to hew to his message of restoring America's founding values, with a special emphasis on the sanctity of the family.
When he does so, he will set aside his usual stump speech, says Romney adviser Mark DeMoss, and stump instead for the hearts and minds of political foot soldiers itching for a culture war with President Obama over same-sex marriage.
This year, Liberty is graduating its largest class in the school's history, and when they receive their degrees tomorrow from Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., it will mark not only the end of their formal educations at Liberty, but, in the words university's late founder, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., the conclusion of their training to become "Champions for Christ." Romney's commencement address is chance to connect them immediately to the world of electoral politics, and one that cold win him greater support from young, public-spirited Evangelical Christians -- and also help woo the "Anybody but Mitt" crowd still smarting from the bruising GOP primaries.