The Corner

Santorum Adviser: ‘Why is Mormonism Off Limits?’

As the Santorum campaign deals with the controversy over Rick Santorum’s 2008 comments about Satan, an adviser has a question: Why, if Santorum’s Catholic beliefs are fair game, aren’t Mitt Romney’s Mormon beliefs also? The Washington Examiner reports:

 

Santorum’s aides believe it is unfair that reporters are asking questions about aspects of Santorum’s faith and not asking similar questions about Mitt Romney’s.  Of course, Santorum has spoken more publicly about the details of his religious beliefs than Romney has, and that is why some of the questions are popping up now.  …

But specifically religious questioning of Romney is as rare as specific Romney statements about Mormon beliefs.  Given the current grilling of Santorum, that is a source of growing frustration to Santorum’s advisers.  “Why is Mormonism off limits?” asks one.  “I’m not saying it’s a seminal issue in the campaign, but we’re having to spend days answering questions about Rick’s faith, which he has been open about.  Romney will turn on a dime when you talk about religion.  We’re getting asked about specific tenets of Rick’s faith, and when Romney says, ‘I want to focus on the economy,’ they say, OK, we’ll focus on the economy.”

There’s been extensive discussion over whether there is Mormon bias in the electorate or not. Just under 20 percent of Republican and independent voters would not vote for a Mormon for president, according to a June Gallup poll. In contrast, a higher percentage of Democrats — 27 percent — wouldn’t vote for a Mormon for president. As far as I’m aware, there’s been no similar polling — or even widespread discussion — about whether a Catholic candidate faces any similar electoral obstacles. 

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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