Election 2012

Rev. Billy Graham goes political, backs Mitt Romney

Rev. Billy Graham goes political, backs Mitt Romney

With days to go before Nov. 6, Rev. Billy Graham took his boldest step into politics and threw his support behind Mitt Romney.

In full-page ads and a new website featuring the 93-year-old Graham’s signature and photo, he urges voters to back candidates who oppose abortion and support traditional marriage. Although his “vote biblical values” campaign does not mention candidates by name, it comes shortly after Graham met with Mitt Romney and told the Republican nominee he would “do all I can to help you.”

This represents a major shift for Graham, who has known every president since Harry Truman and normally refrains from backing candidates, although he did raise questions in 1960 about whether John F. Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism might mean loyalty to the Vatican.

Close Graham followers say his son and heir apparent, the Rev. Franklin Graham, has influenced him in his latest moves. “I think that Franklin has an influence in there,” Billy Graham biographer William Martin said. “But I can’t say … that he is leading his father to do something that he’s not willing to do.”

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