Already under scrutiny for shifting positions on key issues and his Mormon faith, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has made a bizarre new flip flop – saying on national TV his favorite novel is Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s “Battlefield Earth.”
The former Massachusetts governor told Fox News his favorite book was the Bible but his favorite novel was the science fiction tome “Battlefield Earth.”
“Actually, the one by L. Ron Hubbard,” Romney said when asked to name his favorite novel. “I’m not in favor of his religion by any means, but he wrote a book called ‘Battlefield Earth’ that was a very fun science fiction book.”
The Mark Twain novel “Huckleberry Finn” tops the book list on Romney’s My Space page. “Battlefield Earth” isn’t on the list.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said: “Battlefield Earth is pretty good science fiction. It’s about Earth being ruled by an alien race, sort of the way the Democrats are running Congress.”
But Stephen Prothero, head of Boston University’s religion department and the author of “Religious Literacy,” noted Romney’s Mormonism could be a stumbling block with some voters.
“Mormonism sounds like a science fiction fantasy to some Americans,” Prothero said. “It seems one of the burdens of his campaign is to present an image of Mormonism that sounds more reasonable and less fantastic. This seems to be undercutting that effort.”
Paul Watanabe, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, said Romney will get Tom Cruise and John Travolta’s votes. The Hollywood heavyweights are devotees of the controversial Church of Scientology and Travolta starred in the movie version of “Battlefield Earth,” seen by some as one of the worst movies ever made, about an alien invasion in the year 3000.
“Mitt Romney has a penchant for saying something to appeal to every possible constituency and it appears that he is including Scientology in that orbit,” Watanabe said.
Michael Goldman, a Democratic consultant with the Government Insight Group, chalked it up to one of those “mind blips” that happens in campaigns, but he said the “Battlefield Earth” revelation will hurt Romney. “It’s such a bizarre choice. We don’t necessarily want our president to be Albert Einstein but we don’t want people to make fun of our president either,” Goldman said.
In addition to his literary choices, Romney has also been slammed for changing positions on abortion and gay rights.
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