Mitt Romney’s clumsy Mormon shtick

Mitt Romney’s clumsy Mormon shtick. By Adam Reilly:

Mitt Romney’s Mormonism is his biggest political hurdle. The Massachusetts governor, who will almost certainly seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, has become a dark-horse favorite thanks to his achievements (health-care reform) and personal qualities (he’s charismatic, smart, and absurdly wholesome). But in a 1999 Gallup poll, 17 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t vote for a presidential candidate who’s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And since the conservative evangelicals prominent in today’s GOP are deeply suspicious of the LDS Church, Romney’s religion could cripple him in the Republican primaries. Romney knows he needs to dispel these heebie-jeebies to win the presidency, so he’s spent the past few months figuring out how to play the Mormon card.

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Posted on April 27, 2006, in News and politics. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great article. I recently saw Mitt Romney respond to questions about his faith, and typed up his responce.

    I put all this work into typing it up, and am looking for places to post it.

    I hope you see it as relevant to your article…

    I think that if Mitt Romney can become president, that that is good news for Hindus, Buddhist, and others…

    This exchange takes place at about 12:20 into the video at this location:

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=mitt+romney

    (The punctuation and spelling are by me).

    Guest host Judy Woodruff: …Religion really played a role sense JFK, do you think it would play a role if you ran?

    Mitt Romney: Oh, I think initially. Some people would say, Gosh, I don’t know much about your faith, tell me about it. And I’d probably outline the fundamentals. I’m a religious person. I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior. But then as you get into the details of doctrines I’d probably say look time out, let’s focus on the values that we share. And fundamentally the values of my faith are very much like the values of other Judeo-Christian tradition values. And I think Americans want to have a leader who is a person of faith, but their not going to get terribly involved in the differences of doctrine, as long as the values we share are common.

    Guest host Judy Woodruff: John Kennedy, we remember, looked for and found a venue where he could talk about his catholic faith. The Houston ministry is a very famous speech that he gave. Would you look for and are you looking for a place were you can make a statement like this and are you looking for the right place and time?

    Mitt Romney: Not really. Not at this stage. You know its possible that there will come some point were there is a question that galvanizes interest and there is an occasion to say something that cuts through the confusion that may develop but at this stage it is kind of hard to predict what will happen. I mean I remember in the race with Ronald Reagan, it was in his debate that he said, “I’m not going to let your youth and inexperience become an issue in this campaign”. That sort of put aside his age issue. And there may well be something of that nature. I just don’t think Americans will do something the constitution forbids. The constitution says that no religious test shall ever be required for qualification for office in these United States, and I don’t think my party or the American people would ever do that.

    Guest host Judy Woodruff: But there are some aspects of Mormonism that many Americans might not understand… are these legitimate issues for people to ask you about?

    Mitt Romney: There is a leap of faith associated with every religion. You haven’t exactly got those doctrines right, but if you have doctrines you want to talk about go talk to the church, because that’s not my job. But the most unusual thing in my church is that we believe there was once a flood upon the earth and that a man took a boat and put two of each animal inside the boat and saved humanity by doing that.

    Guest host Judy Woodruff: We are familiar with that story.

    Mitt Romney: There are unusual beliefs associated with each faith and I’m proud of my faith and happy to talk to people about it but fundamentally my race for governor, my race for senator before that, and if I run for nationally its going to be about the values that I have, and the values that I think should be emphasized in this country and answers to the kind of challenges that we face, because I believe that America is at a critical time, and I believe those are the types of issues that people will focus on.

    As of now, I am not going to argue religion with anyone else in context of Mitt Romney, partly because of quotes like this from our religious leaders:

    When you go into a neighborhood to preach the Gospel, never attempt to tear down a man’s house, so to speak, before you build him a better one; never, in fact, attack any one’s religion, wherever you go. Be willing to let every man enjoy his own religion. It is his right to do that. If he does not accept your testimony with regard to the Gospel of Christ, that is his affair, and not yours. Do not spend your time in pulling down other sects and parties. We haven’t time to do that. It is never right to do that.

    Contributor, August 1895, pp.636–37.

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