UPDATE: TPM has another source. This is getting bad for Romney.

Yesterday, the blogosphere was all up in a tizzy about a Christian Science Monitor op-ed piece that claims that Mitt Romney said he would not pick a Muslim for the Cabinet because there aren’t enough Muslims. Naturally, the Romney campaign denied. It seemed that the story was going to be tied to Romney’s affirmative-action appointment of a judge.

However, TPM dropped a bomb. Apparently two NV GOP officials had asked a similar question several months ago and gotten a similar answer. One of them even described the comments as "racist."

Romney has two problems now. The first is that the press is not going to let up. As Marc Ambinder points out:

Answering the subject by challenging the premise and challenging the credentials of the person who made the accusations are debating techniques, but they won’t the get media to leave the story alone.

And second, as the Economist points out:

Why not simply say at the outset that prospective appointees will be treated as individuals, rather than representatives of groups?  Certainly that seems the more congenial position for a candidate who is himself a member of a minority sect.

This may open the door to a more open discussion of Romney’s religion. If he is discriminating on the basis of religion — perhaps even a wrong-but-politically-useful position in an Iowa Republican caucus — then why can’t other people drill down on his religion? Arguing "no bigotry" is a lot easier than arguing "bigotry for me but not for thee." A combination of hypocrisy and implausible repeated non-denials is good material for a feeding frenzy. At the same time as he’s getting drilled for other things. There’s a lot of bad synergy going on right now for Romney.

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6 Comments

ALB · November 28, 2007 at 11:50 AM

“I won’t hire the most qualified person for the job if that person is an [x].”

Quality. Competence.

Nope, not finding it.

Charles Wilson · November 28, 2007 at 8:09 PM

It’s hard to predict how the mainstream media will cover all this stuff. I’ve gotten the sense that the media really likes Romney and wants him to be the nominee, hence little or no coverage of the push polling (oops, “message testing”) or the scandals involving two of Romney’s finance chairmen.

As for the Mormonism, I think the mainstream media badly wants to show how “evenhanded” it is by, a) asking no questions about Mormonism beyond what the Mormons WANT asked, and b) defining any skeptical questions about Mormonism to be “bigotry.”

If Romney is the Republican nominee, I don’t think we’ll be told anything close to the truth about the history, beliefs, and current-day activities of the Mormon Church.

ee2793 · November 28, 2007 at 10:08 PM

Your (McCain) push poll fake conspiracy theory putzed out and know your spouting off the rantings of a Democrat plant?

eyeon08.com » Bad scandal day · November 28, 2007 at 6:13 PM

[…] So this morning was the Mitt Romney’s hypocritical bigotry towards Muslims scandal. Then the Boston Herald broke that Romney’s affirmative-action judge had screwed up and let out a child-rapist before Romney gave her a promotion. […]

eyeon08.com » Romney, religious freedom, and Muslim comments · December 2, 2007 at 11:51 PM

[…] Last week, Mitt Romney was in a world of hurt because someone had alleged that he had said that he would not hire a Muslim into a senior position. At the time, I wrote: This may open the door to a more open discussion of Romney’s religion. If he is discriminating on the basis of religion — perhaps even a wrong-but-politically-useful position in an Iowa Republican caucus — then why can’t other people drill down on his religion? Arguing "no bigotry" is a lot easier than arguing "bigotry for me but not for thee." A combination of hypocrisy and implausible repeated non-denials is good material for a feeding frenzy. At the same time as he’s getting drilled for other things. There’s a lot of bad synergy going on right now for Romney. […]

Romney’s Speach On His Faith - HaikuBlogging · December 6, 2007 at 5:01 PM

[…] Links: Romney Seeks to Defuse Concerns Over Mormon Faith (NYTimes) Mitt’s Muslim Mess: The larger problem (EyeOn08.com) Romney Opposed Naming Muslim To Cabinet On Second Occasion, Witnesses Say (TalkingPointsMemo) […]

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