A number of people have written on the underlying facts here. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi) reported  — but did not quote — that Falwell had endorsed Mitt Romney. The Boston Globe reported that Falwell denied this and that Romney denied saying it in the first place.

So all of this turns on the question of what was actually said. I got my hands on the quote. Here it is:

A number of religious leaders among the evangelical Christian community will validate my effort if I get in. A number will say they endorse me. Others will say that if I’m the nominee, they’d be happy to work for me. I think a few already have, Dr. Land and Jerry Falwell and some others said look if this guy’s the nominee, that’s great we’ll be happy to work with him.

In other words, it wasn’t an endorsement. Romney said that Falwell would "work with" Romney. Romney’s message is that he is, in some form, acceptable to some leaders in the Religious Right. For some, he will even be their first choice. But that he’s someone who can be worked with.

I think that Romney is selling this a little strongly. In the Globe article, Falwell said "could support" and in this quote Romney said "we’ll be happy". I think that Romney is definitely going beyond Falwell’s words here, as I believe the Globe article indicates.

In any case, I think that the whole point of this discussion is as a way of saying that the Mormon issue is not a show-stopper, which I totally agree with. So can we stop talking about the Mormon issue and talk about issues and politics and mechanics?

1 Comment

governmentissue · November 30, 2006 at 11:13 PM

I think the Mormon issue is going to be with us for the duration of the campaign, as long as Romney is in it anyway. Only the real political junkies are paying much attention now but different folks start to get engaged in the presidential race at different times. At this point it is probably safe to say 80% of Americans do not even know who Romney is. As the waves of new people who are interested in the race start to roll in, the issue will come up anew with each new group. Falwell and other Christian’s probably want to be very careful about what they say about Romney on the outside chance he ends up being the candidate. But I think their support for him will be non existant unless he makes some real headway.

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