May 21st, 2012
03:58 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN)– A political truce may be brewing between the Obama and Romney campaigns on the issue of the candidates' faith and religious practice. An all-out war over such issues nearly erupted last week, but neither campaign would take up arms.
The controversy began after word got out of a Republican Super PAC's proposal to try to put a spotlight on President Barack Obama's fiery former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., just like in 2008. But Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, slapped the effort down before it even got off the ground (and the Super PAC's leaders insisted the Wright campaign was just one of several ideas).
"I repudiate that effort," Romney told reporters on Thursday. "I think it's the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign. I hope that our campaigns can respectfully be about the future and about issues and about a vision for America."
Romney's lifelong membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is seen by some as a major liability, especially among evangelical voters and voters who don't know much about Mormonism.
After word of the proposed Wright campaign, Democratic pundits argued that if Obama's old pastor was back on the table, Romney's Mormonism should be, too, including the church's checkered history on the issue of race.
On Sunday, during CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said that his camp repudiates attacks against Romney's faith.
“We've said that's not fair game. And we wish that Gov. Romney would stand up as strongly and as resolutely consistently to refute these kinds of things on his side,” the Obama strategist told Crowley.
"We both ought to take the right position," Axelrod said. He proceeded to take a few shots at Romney, noting the former Massachusetts said in February that Wright was fair game.
Either way, both campaigns are now on the record saying the tinder box of their rival's faith is now off the table.
Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.