JOHNSTON, Iowa – Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday that despite his speech to assuage concern about his Mormon faith, there will still be those who will use his religion against him. But he doesn’t believe it will matter in the end.
Asked whether his speech last month in Texas addressing his faith was worth it, Romney told a a group of reporters that he doesn’t believe a person’s specific faith is a big deal for most Americans.
“But there will always be some people for which that’s the most important issue,” Romney acknowledged. “I think that’s a small minority of the national population. But time will tell. I don’t have a way of gauging that.”
Poll after poll has shown a sizable number of Americans are wary of voting for a candidate who belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which some evangelical groups label a cult. Romney, who would be the first Mormon president if elected, has attempted to allay fears about his faith by citing “shared values” with other mainstream Christian faiths.
With only two days to the Iowa caucuses, the first official test of the presidential primary contest, Romney spent New Years Day visiting various homes in the Hawkeye State.
At the first, the host asked Romney to sign a copy of conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s book, “A Mormon in the White House,” while at the second, Romney addressed reporters before a bookshelf that featured an LDS Church version of the Bible.
Romney also criticized an anonymous anti-Mormon whisper campaign – some voters in early primary states report receiving scathing letters about the LDS faith and a faux Mormon Christmas card raises the issue of God having multiple wives was circulated in South Carolina.
“There are others who ask religious questions and as you know there’s been some effort on the part of some groups to try and stir up religious controversy, that’s just not the American way,” Romney said.
But, he added, “I don’t think that will be successful and in the final analysis, I believe people will choose and individual based on his or her vision, and their experience and their character. So I’m confident when the final tally is counted for delegates, I’ll be the person standing on stage. “