Mitt Romney affirmed the centrality of his Mormon beliefs during an interview Tuesday on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight show.
Morgan initiated a conversation with Romney about religion by showing his guest a recorded clip from the 2008 presidential campaign wherein Romney said, "I believe in my Mormon faith. … Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they're right, so be it."
When subsequently asked by Morgan if he still stands by those words, Romney didn't hesitate: "Absolutely."
He continued: "My experience (in) Massachusetts running as a Mormon guy in a state that's overwhelmingly of other faiths didn't seem to get in my way there."
Earlier in the day, Romney and his wife, Ann, appeared together on "The View."
"The challenge I had (in 2008) is that I answered every question," Romney said on The View. "And sometimes you need to say, 'You know, let me quickly answer that question and then get on to what's really important.'"
Responding to a question from View co-host Barbara Walters about whether and when he'll officially declare his candidacy for the 2012 presidential election, Romney revealed that Ann fully supports another run for the White House.
"Between the two of us, she's the one committed to getting into this thing," he said. "I'm the one saying, 'let's give it more time.' She's saying, 'full speed ahead.' "
Romney appeared on "Piers Morgan" and "The View" as part of a two-day media tour in conjunction with the paperback release of his book "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness." He also appeared on Good Morning America and read the Top Ten List on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
With Romney's media blitz and confirmation that Jon Huntsman Jr. will resign the U.S. ambassadorship to China effective April 30 presumably to make a run for the White House, the question du jour becomes whether a candidate's Mormon faith precludes a viable candidacy for the U.S. presidency. (Despite telling Fortune magazine last year, "I can't say I am overly religious. I get satisfaction from many different types of philosophies," Huntsman is a member of the LDS faith and former Mormon missionary.)
Mounting evidence increasingly points to a brave new world where the perceived biases that potentially derailed Romney's 2008 presidential campaign are dissolving — and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could realistically be elected president of the United States in 2012.
The Washington Post recently posted a pair of articles on its website — a poll-based analysis and an op-ed piece — examining the viability of a Mormon presidential candidate. The article relying on polling culls its data from the 2008 election cycle, when the percentage of respondents saying they'd be less likely to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate dropped over a one-year period from 36 percent to 21.
At Christianity Today, Tobin Grant examines which candidate Evangelicals like now that Huntsman is apparently entering the fray — and, of course, Romney is a big part of that discussion. According to Grant:81 comments on this story
"In an open memo to 'conservative and evangelical leaders,' Mark DeMoss, of the Christian public relations firm The DeMoss Group, said that all of the potential candidates for the Republican nomination pass the traditional litmus tests on abortion and marriage. DeMoss offered a new litmust test: 'A candidate for president of the United States should be capable of becoming president, and then competent to be the president.' For DeMoss, the candidate that passes that test is Mitt Romney."
Finally, last week Time Magazine recently rolled out a major profile on Romney. Some bloggers said that the article appeared to legitimize his LDS affiliation by making almost no mention of it.
While no one knows how Romney and Huntsman will ultimately fare in the Republican presidential primaries, a slew of recent articles contends it's now looking more and more like their Mormon faith won't amount to a de facto disqualification.
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