Romney downplays his Mormonism with ‘so many challenges ahead’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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In a rare appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took on a personal issue that has resisted talking about in the past: his religion.

Host David Gregory asked the GOP presidential hopeful what he thought a successful run this fall would mean to Mormons in America.

“I’m sure a number of members of my faith are proud of the fact that someone of my faith and our faith is able to run for president,” Romney said. “My own reaction is, I’ve got so many challenges ahead of me, I don’t think so much about the impact this has on the church day to day, but more about what kind of impact I want to have on the electorate and what it takes to become elected president.”

Romney emphasized the importance of the ethical foundations his religion had taught him.

“I’m convinced that my background and my heritage and my faith has made me the person I am to a great degree,” Romney continued. “The Judeo-Christian ethics that I was brought up with — the sense of obligation to one’s fellow man, an absolute conviction that we are all sons and daughters of the same God and therefore in a human family— is one of the reasons I am doing what I’m doing. It would have been very easy for me to just stay in business. I like business. That’s fun. But when the Olympic request came along, Ann said, ‘You’ve got to do this. This is important.’ And when I ran for governor, ‘This is important,’ and now when I’m running for president. I think that comes in part from this Judeo-Christian ethic of service and commitment to one’s fellow man.”

Gregory asked Romney’s wife Ann, who also appeared on the program, if she thought the era of Mormon “persecution” had passed.

“I certainly hope so. I mean it’s always wonderful when milestones like that are accomplished,” she said. “And I think that was why we were all so pleased, with so many Americans, were so pleased with the last election and seeing that a black man was elected as president of the United States. It made us proud as Americans to know that those prejudices that we’ve had in the past are falling away.”

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