February 2nd, 2011
11:32 AM ET

Mitt Romney on politics of Mormonism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog co-editor

As Mitt Romney eyes a 2012 presidential bid, he is facing the so-called Mormon question again, just as he did during his unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Republican nomination.

Embarking on a media tour to promote his new book - and, in the process, testing a potential White House run - the former Massachusetts governor is reprising lines on his Mormon faith from his last bout as presidential contender.

Here's what Romney told CNN's Piers Morgan Tuesday night when asked whether his Mormon beliefs would be a potential stumbling block with voters should he seek the presidency:

I can’t judge the politics - I don’t know the answer to that. My experience so far both in Massachusetts running as a Mormon guy in a state that’s overwhelmingly of other faiths is it didn't seem to get in my way there. Most people in country recognize that in fact the nation itself was founded on the principle of religious tolerance and freedom. We respect other people beliefs and in a lot of cases people who honor faith and try and be true to it.

A late 2007 Pew poll found that one in four Americans admitted to being less inclined to vote for a Mormon candidate for president.  Pew said that among those who were generally less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate, Romney was significantly less popular.

Another possible sign that Romney's Mormon faith hurt him politically was his loss to the Mike Huckabee - a Baptist minister - in a handful of 2008 presidential primaries in the Deep South. In one of the bigger flaps of that election season, Huckabee told the New York Times "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

Mormons blasted the remark as patently false and the former Arkansas governor later apologized.

Romney addressed his Mormonism publicly in a major 2007 speech called Faith in America.

"I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it," he said. "My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they're right, so be it."

One big question is whether the "Mormon question" would be less an issue for Romney in 2012 because the nation has already considered it in 2008.

Your thoughts on that?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.