It wasn't enough for the LA Times to sponsor and publicize a misleading poll thay many have thought casts doubts on Romney's chances of becoming POTUS because he's LDS (That's the one that says that 37% don't want a Mormon POTUS--see the link above for why I think that's a poorly conducted and highly misleading poll).
Well, now the LA Times has run another story titled "Romney's 2008 Bid Faces Issue of Faith: Massachusetts' GOP governor has political promise, but voters may not embrace a Mormon.".
As is becoming a common theme with articles about Romney they essentially say that he's the PERFECT candidate . . . except for that darn religion that he ascribes to.
DES MOINES — In seeking a presidential candidate for 2008, why would Republicans look further than the governor of Massachusetts?
Tall and urbane, Mitt Romney has a prime political pedigree, an unblemished personal life and the cool confidence of a CEO. He is a conservative Republican who won easy election in a fiercely liberal state — then streamlined Massachusetts' government and enacted the country's most sweeping healthcare overhaul.
He is a passionate defender of states' rights and recently has embraced strong views against stem cell research and abortion — a reversal of earlier positions. He never swears, and his sole vice is Diet Coke. Not incidentally, the 59-year-old governor boasts Ivy League credentials and movie-star looks.
OK . . . they could have stopped the article there; but they go on to quote folks who seem to think Romney's Mormonism will be a BIG hurdle (some even think insurmountable).
As a devout Mormon — and a onetime bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Romney adheres to a faith that makes many Americans uncomfortable.
They quote their own lousy poll as evidence of their point and then quote a Poli Sci prof from Emory, Merel Black:
"He starts out with a deck stacked against him,"
Then it gets interesting:
[Romney's] reluctance to delve deeper into his beliefs, only add to the mystery of a faith that many Americans associate with polygamy — although that practice has long been outlawed by the church — and with customs such as marrying people after they have died and converting the dead.
"Evangelicals are appalled by all that," said Pastor Ted Haggard, president of the National Assn. of Evangelicals in Colorado Springs, Colo. "We evangelicals view Mormons as a Christian cult group. A cult group is a group that claims exclusive revelation. And typically, it's hard to get out of these cult groups. And so Mormonism qualifies as that."
In addition, Haggard said, evangelicals do not accept Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith as a prophet. "And we do not believe that the Book of Mormon has the same level of authority as the Bible," he said.
Boy, sounds like this Haggard guy is going to be leading the charge against a Romney presidency, right?
That same Pastor Ted Haggard, just one month ago spoke with a reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune and he didn't seem to be such an obstacle to a President Romney:
The Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said Friday he would have no problem voting for a Mormon for U.S. president. . . .
"We rejected an Evangelical [Harriet Meiers] for the Supreme Court and accepted a Catholic [Samuel Alito]," said Haggard, who was in Salt Lake City to address the Religion Newswriters Association's annual convention. "It's a question of competence." Evangelical Christians are more interested "in good government," than in religious affiliation, . . .
But it's not all so rosy for Haggard:
"We believe Mormonism is a Christian cult," [Haggard] said after his speech. "But we have the same positions on many social issues, pro-life and so on." He said that Evangelicals and Catholics have long joined forces on these social issues and a similar dialogue about them between Evangelicals and Mormons is "in the early stages." "We are in search for areas where we can stand together," Haggard said.
At least the Salt Lake Tribune carried both sides of Haggard's comments . . . The LA Times wasn't quite so honest, eh?
But it's not just Haggard that they hold up as an obstacle to Romney. They quote a South Carolinian GOP County Chairman, Rick Beltram, about how much work Romney has to do to make any headway in that Bible Belt State:
But as he campaigns in South Carolina, "the biggest weakness for Romney is that he is a Mormon," said Spartanburg County Republican Party Chairman Rick Beltram.
"He's got to convince the rank and file that Mormonism isn't some strange cult religion, and persuade people that the beliefs he holds are very much mainstream USA."
Starting with Romney's first exploratory trip to Spartanburg, S.C., in February 2005, Beltram said, "Everyone said, 'Oh boy, what does a Mormon believe in?' "
Wait though, this the same Rick Beltram who was quoted just a few days ago in a South Carolina paper, The State:
“Romney has moved up the fastest,” said Spartanburg County Republican chairman Rick Beltram.
Obviously, Beltram isn't painting a picture of an insurmountable challenge (which seems to be the whole point of the LA Times article.) Very shady journalism, if you ask me.
Well, I just thought every one deserved to hear . . . "The Rest of the Story." One sided reporting of issues is something we've come to expect from liberal rags like the LA Times. But that doesn't mean that we have to take the trash they're trying to shove down our throats.