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Mormons & Media: A presidential spin, thanks to Romney, Huntsman

Published: Wednesday, July 1 2015 3:35 p.m. MDT

Today's highlights of online links to Mormon media coverage take a political turn, with pundits putting their spin on former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman joining 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a pair of high-profile LDS Church members as likely Republican candidates eyeing the White House for 2012.

Huffington Post's David Helfenbein recalls here the question of the '08 election — " 'Given the following choices, who would you be least likely to vote for — an African American, a Jew, or a Mormon?' The answer was clear: a Mormon."

And he wonders if the country is headed to another JFK moment with the possibility of the Republican candidate in 2012 being a Mormon. "As a nation," Helfenbein writes, "we have looked past race; we came so close to shattering the gender gap (and I hope more than anything that we break it the upcoming years); we also need to continue to look past religion in choosing who we elect."

In his "2012: The Year of the Mormons?" for the Washington Post, Stephen Stromberg suggests that not only is '12 perhaps the most favorable year after for an LDS presidential candidate, having two Mormons in the primaries may make the media treat the faith as less unusual and bizarre and instead focus on past public service and platform promises.

He writes: "If the logic of the 2012 GOP primary revolves around Washington, not Salt Lake City, it would be comparatively healthy, in its way — instead of getting lost in wayward speculations about faith, more GOP voters may judge candidates on what they have actually done and what they propose to do in office."

The Washington Post resurrected a shared polled with ABC News from the 2008 election, questioning here whether Americans are ready for a Mormon president. In its previous polls, 22 percent of Americans said they would be less apt to vote for an LDS presidential candidate, but that attitude seems to be decreasing while more respondents said a candidate's religion wouldn't play into their selecetion process.

Many observers last week tried to link Marriott hotels' decision to drop its in-room, pay-per-view porn service as a move to strengthen Romney's likely presidential campaign — he was until recently a member of Marriott's board of directors. However, Joanna Brooks of Religion Dispatches says here she doesn't buy it, suggesting everyone has it all backwards and that the move is likely more a reflection of the Church's increased anti-pornography efforts of late rather than a political push on Romney's behalf.

e-mail: taylor@desnews.com

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