Romney Courts Evangelical Vote at Liberty U.

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LYNCHBURG, Va. -- Presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will hit the campaign trail this week fresh off his first major outreach to evangelicals.

On Saturday, Romney addressed more than 30,000 students and families at Liberty University's graduation ceremonies.

While there, he spoke with CBN News about the nation's struggling economy as well as President Obama's support of same-sex marriage.

Romney Touts Conservative Creditials
 
The former Massachusetts governor has sewn up the GOP nomination. Now he needs the enthusiastic support of evangelical voters to take the White House.

Some of Romney's conservative critics are concerned that once he's president, he'll abandon his conservative ideals and move to the middle.

Click play to watch Jennifer Wishon's interview with Mitt Romney, followed by more analysis from CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody.

The presumed nominee insisted they have nothing to worry about and that his record speaks for itself.

"Issue by issue, they have an opportunity to see my record when I was governor of Massachusetts," he told CBN News. "We were able to cut back on the size of government."

"Actually, we didn't just slow the rate of growth of our government, we actually cut it," he added. "We pulled back on the spending of our state. I reduced taxes 19 times."

Meanwhile, the president's recent announcement of support for gay marriage has placed that topic front and center on the campaign trail.

Romney made no bones about his position, telling the Liberty University graduates, "Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman."

Still, Romney didn't commit to make this issue the hood ornament of his campaign for the White House. He's squarely focused on the economy.

"I think people of different backgrounds have different issues that they find to be the most compelling, and interesting," he said.

"What I speak about day to day in some respects reflects what I'm being asked about. And so those issues, by virtue of the president's change of view on this topic, has become more current today," he told CBN News.

"How important it is to the people a few months from now, time will tell," he said. "But my positions are, I think, out there for people to see and, hopefully, I will attract the kind of support that I need to be successful in November."

Reaching Evangelicals

Romney's speech at Liberty University was in many ways the biggest of his political career. He had the largest audience he's ever addressed as a candidate at a critical time in his campaign

Romney told CBN News he'd make every effort to reach out to voters -- not just evangelicals.

"I think I have to make a real effort to get every voter in this country," he said. "Those people who are inclined to my views of the issues of the day, whether they are economic issues, foreign policy issues, social issues, I need to make sure they understand what my views are."

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.