POLITICO's Lois Romano appears to be projecting O'Donnell's views onto disenchanted Republican voters while adopting the David Gregory mantra:
Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has hovered over his 20-year political career like a thick layer of incense at Easter Mass. Negative perceptions of the religion so worried his 2008 presidential team that the dilemma had its own acronym in campaign power point presentations: TMT (That Mormon Thing).Romano, perhaps unknowingly, puts Media Research Center's Brent Bozell in the same camp as Gregory:
Worries persisted this year as skeptical evangelical Christians flocked to other candidates—any other candidate it seemed — causing Romney to avoid all things Mormon in public.
But now that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee, many Republicans think that the standoffish candidate actually needs to embrace his Mormonism publicly to open a window into his life.
Conservative activist L. Brent Bozell hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate but admittedly favored the more conservative players in the race over Romney. Still, he sees no reason for Romney to hide his light under a bushel. “If you’re a Mormon, you don’t need to distance yourself from it,” says Bozell. “We can all get along. I think the hostility seen in the primaries toward him was based more on cultural issues—social issues, not religious.”The question remains: What will the end result be of Republican voters learning more about Mormonism. Romney's reticence indicates he thinks it will hurt him.
But not entirely: Romney experienced pushback this year from evangelicals who view the Mormon faith as at odds with the historic Christian doctrine of the Trinity. They question whether Mormons even believe in Jesus Christ –even though the official name of the religion is the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. One prominent Texas cleric who supported Rick Perry called the church a “cult.”
“What I find disturbing,” said one Romney adviser who asked for anonymity, “are the exits polls where people said they could only vote for someone who shared their religious faith.” According to this adviser and others, Christian conservatives feel that electing a Mormon president would further legitimatize the lay religion founded nearly 200 years ago, when many of them see it as a false religion.
Why? That's a question voters should answer before it's too late.
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