ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Mitt Romney received a spiritual boost Thursday, garnering an informal endorsement from the Reverends Billy and Franklin Graham.
“I’ll do all I can to help you,” Rev. Billy Graham told Romney while praying for the Republican presidential nominee. “And you can quote me on that.”
The pair met with Romney for about 30 minutes at the Grahams’ home in Montreat, N.C., according to Romney adviser Mark DeMoss. They spoke about religious freedom, persecution, and the growth of their ministry – the Billy Graham Evangelist Association – throughout the world.
Rev. Billy Graham also mentioned Romney’s father, former Michigan governor George Romney, calling him a friend.
Romney was speaking of his father’s death as a TV crew was ushered in to record a few minutes of the meeting.
“He was on the treadmill one morning at age 88 and he’s jogging on the treadmill,” Romney said as the three were seated in chairs. “And his irregular heartbeat caused him to faint and there was no one there to revive him and so he passed away.”
“My mom lived for another year after that, and then she followed,” Romney continued.
The 93-year-old Graham has had several health scares recently – he was hospitalized in August for two days with bronchitis, and again last November with pneumonia.
Graham has provided counsel to every president since Harry Truman as well as preached to millions over the years through his ministry.
He’s run into controversy over the years, most recently approving of a ban on same-sex marriage in North Carolina. During Nixon’s presidency, Rev. Graham was caught on tape making anti-Semitic comments in the Oval Office.
After the meeting finished, Rev. Franklin Graham walked Romney out to his car and posed for pictures.