I called Steve Scheffler, head of the Iowa Christian Alliance, for his reaction to the Romney speech. He hasn’t yet seen it, he told me, because he’s out on the road delivering voter guides. So the whole world didn’t stop for the speech.
I did talk to Steve Carlson, who is a board member of the Iowa Christian Alliance. “I was comforted by it, but I wasn’t swayed by it,” Carlson told me. “I was comforted in that I believe he has a pretty solid view on the role that religion should play at the level of president of the United States.” Carlson told me that Romney “is not my first choice, but I would not exclude him.” (His first choice, by the way, is Fred Thompson, but Carlson told me, “I am disappointed that he [Thompson] is not making more efforts in Iowa.”)
Carlson said his reservations about Romney did not concern Mormonism – he has been concerned that Romney was too polished and that he had changed his positions over the years. On the general issue of religion, however, Carlson was pleased with what he heard today. “Our nation’s values are Judeo-Christian,” he told me. “I want to see religion stay a part of our government. I don’t want to see ‘Under God’ taken out of our government. I believe that our government is based on Judeo-Christian values.”
Finally, Carlson said Romney did help himself on one of Carlson’s concerns. “The main reservation I had early on was that he was too polished, and I didn’t think people would believe him,” Carlson said. “Today, he appeared more sincere.”