Rewind to Romney about religion, divorces

A couple of Republican presidential candidates are making the rounds in Iowa this weekend. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback will speak to Iowa Colleage Republicans early this afternoon in Des Moines.  (Brownback didn’t make it because of the weather.) Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson spoke to the group last night and is on the road today with stops planned in Des Moines,  Waterloo, Dubuque, Davenport and Clinton (weather permitting).

This past Monday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was in Sioux City and I had a brief telephone conversation with Romney. 

As you know if you read The Blog, I covered Romney’s visit to Rube’s Steakhouse earlier this month and his formal "announcement" in Des Moines on February 13.  One thing that has stuck out for me when asking Republicans at these events about whether Romney’s Mormon religion will be a factor for some voters.  Some have replied, "No" and a few have said they don’t understand why it would.  Four have said it makes them more inclined to vote for Romney.  But several have replied:  "I don’t know yet."

So I asked Romney about that:  "You know, I think the American people want a person of faith to lead the country," Romney replied.  "They want someone who fundamentally believes that we are all children of the same God, that we’re a human family.  I don’t think there are very many people who care about the particular faith, the theology involved.  They want to know if you’re a person of faith and whether you share the values that they have and I’m very proud of the fact that the values which my wife and I have in our home are the kind of values that I think are as American as they can possibly be and I think people who come to know my wife and me and our children come to the conclusion that we represent the kinds of values that we hope the rest of the country adheres to."

Romney’s wife, of course, recently bragged to a crowd that her husband was the only one among the leading Republican candidates who was on his first marriage.   "Do you think your marital status and the marital status of the others in the race is a deciding factor for voters?" I asked Romney during that interview on Monday morning.

"No, I don’t think personal matters of that nature will become factors in the race.  I think she was quoting a joke by Kate O’Beirne and there are things you say in jokes that are designed to get laughter but don’t have a very substantive point," Mr. Romney replied.  (Kate O’Beirne is the Washington editor of the National Review.)

As you may recall, this is what Giuliani had to say about the matter.


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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.