The Spectacle Blog

JFK’s Example

By on 11.12.07 | 10:18AM

My AmSpec piece 11 days ago on evangelicals' concerns with Mitt Romney's Mormon faith drew many rebuttals from his defenders. Over the weekend Drudge noticed an Associated Press article about how Romney's political consultants are advising him against giving a special speech addressing his religion:

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said Saturday his political advisers have warned him against giving a speech explaining his Mormon faith.

During a house party overlooking Squam Lake, Romney was asked by voters if he would give a speech outlining his religious beliefs and how those beliefs might impact his administration, much like then-Sen. John F. Kennedy did as he sought to explain his Catholic faith during the 1960 election.

"I'm happy to answer any questions people have about my faith and do so pretty regularly," the former Massachusetts governor said. "Is there going to be a special speech? Perhaps, at some point. I sort of like the idea myself. The political advisers tell me no, no, no - it's not a good idea. It draws too much attention to that issue alone."

I'd never seen or heard how JFK handled those questions about his Catholicism during his presidential campaign, but last night C-SPAN gave a window into his management of the issue by showing a Q&A session he held with the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. His performance was impressive and if Romney could do half as well in a similar forum, he might gain significant support among the electorate.

This link is to a Google cache of the C-SPAN broadcast, as I had trouble bringing it up directly from their own site. Well worth watching.

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