Barack Obama and Mitt Romney shun confrontation on religion

Published: Wednesday, June 6 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

In this file photo, Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a speech on Religion, Dec. 6, 2007, at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

LM Otero, File, Associated Press

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Mitchell Landsberg from the Los Angeles Times looks at the way Barack Obama and Mitt Romney avoid confrontational or inflammatory discussion about religion and many of the social issues religious voters often care about:

Romney faces potential resistance to his Mormon faith, especially among the evangelical Christian voters who have been a foundation of support for every Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan. Some Christian conservatives also distrust him because of his past support long repudiated for abortion rights.

Obama has an even messier religion problem. Substantial numbers of voters 16% in a recent poll continue to believe that he is a Muslim, despite his decades of Christian observance. Others still fault him for his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., the Chicago pastor whose videotaped sermons criticizing the United States nearly sank Obama's 2008 campaign.

In the past, Obama, more than Romney, has seemed comfortable talking about his faith. He's not likely to be doing a lot of it this summer or fall.

"It's a losing issue for both of them," said Garry South, a veteran Democratic political consultant.

Read more about religion in the presidential election on Los Angeles Times.

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