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Reid calls out Romney on their shared Mormon faith
September 25th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

Reid calls out Romney on their shared Mormon faith

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The nation's highest ranking Mormon in elected office said Monday that Republican presidential candidate  is “not the face of Mormonism.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made the remarks in a conference call Monday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

“He’s coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS Church,” Reid said about Romney coming to Nevada. “They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism.”

The 2012 election has seen Reid increasingly critical of the Republican hopeful. Reid has used his office to challenge Romney on issues ranging from taxes to foreign policy.

This, however, is the first time that Reid has attacked Romney based on their shared faith.

During the conference call, Reid reportedly mentioned an opinion piece run in the Huffington Post by Gregory A. Prince, co-author of “David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.” In the piece, Prince argued that Romney has run away from his faith and does not represent the modern Mormon Church.

“Judge Mitt Romney as you will, and vote for or against him as you will; but do not judge Mormonism on the basis of the Mitt Romney that was unveiled to the public this week,” Prince wrote. “He is not the face of Mormonism.”

At last month's Republican National Convention, other Mormons who interacted with Romney while at church vouched for the Republican candidate. Ted and Pat Oparowski, a Mormon couple who knew Romney in Massachusetts told stories of him regularly visiting their son after he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and eulogized him after the child died.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Romney supporter and fellow Mormon, said Reid’s words were out of bounds, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

“Harry Reid seems to be making this way too personal and consequently throwing the religion under the bus for his own personal gain,” said Chaffetz. “That’s not where anyone should be going with this. He’s taking this two steps too far.”

Reid was raised agnostic in Searchlight, Nevada, and converted to Mormonism, along with his wife Landra, while attending Southern Utah University. In an interview with the New Yorker in 2005, he heralded the faith for its emphasis on family.

The LDS Church has largely tried to stay out of the politics surrounding the presidential campaign, even though they have received increased attention due to Romney’s candidacy.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (662 Responses)
  1. norma jean.

    HEATHER says;... THAT H. REID IS LYING AND PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE HIGHER STANDARDS THAN THAT..... AND SHE SAYS THAT........".MITT IS A STAND UP HONEST GUY".......!!!!! Sorry Heather but you can't have it both ways.....First of all if Mitt Romney is what you say then I'm "Shirley Temple"... I have never seen a politician who finds the truth so hard to handle!!!! HE LIES and LIES!!!..... ,,, Whether Harry Reid does or not is not as important in the run for president as a candidate that wouldn't know the truth if it bit him!!!!!!

    September 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • luvsgunsandamerica

      If your shirley simple,then reid is a saint

      September 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • JOConnor

      Per Harry R.
      Everyone has a best side but his dripped down the inside of his mothers thigh during his conceprton.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Kate

      Norma Jean...give an example of Romney lying? I have seen many more lies from Obama and Reid than anything Romney has said. I have personally met Reid and discussed healthcare with him and he is clueless in this regard....and that was in 2000 when all the doctors were fleeing Nevada and hospital emergency rooms in Nevada were closing. He had no idea why (malpractice costs – lack of tort reform)...fast track that a few years and Reid is passing a healthcare bill that he's never read and it doesn't address either of these issues. That is our future if Obama is elected. Romney is our only hope for our economy and the future of healthcare.

      September 26, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • Vicki

      Romney lies. Romney lied that the President was removing the work requirement for welfare recipients. Not truth at all. Several republican governors requested waivers. They were allowed to do so only if they could increase employment with their own plan. Another lie was that President Obama's Affordable care act takes $716 billion out of Medicare benefits. Obama has simply reduced, over a 10 year period. what the government will pay to providers. Medicare recipients are largely unaffected by these cuts. Romney and Ryan are trying to scare the elderly and those on disability that President Obama is cutting their benefits and it is a damned lie. The Ryan Budget contains the same cuts but they are primarily aimed at the elderly rather than providers. With republicans you will be paying a lot more. Romney claims that Obama is suing to prevent member of the military from voting early in Ohio. When the fact is President Obama wants all Ohioans to be able to vote the weekend before election day. Romney accuses President Obama of raising taxes on the middle class which he has not done. The stimulus known as the Recovery Act included a middle class tax cut. He has managed to get another couple of middle class tax cuts through in spite of republican antipathy for the middle class to get a tax cut. Now all the republican has going for them is voter suppression and disenfrancising millions of elderly, students and progressives.

      September 26, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  2. SuziSaul

    Harry Reid has pulled a nasty. The man needs to be ignored from now on. How desperate can you be to say something like that?

    September 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • sally

      Rummy pirate continues to conceal something. He has not shown enough of his taxes. Simple. The people deserve to know the whole story.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • CommonSense

      Wake up Sally! Romney's taxes are the least of our concerns! I only wish I had money in the Caymens!

      September 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Kate

      When Reid gets nervous he starts attacking....

      September 26, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  3. RGClark

    Living here in Las Vegas Nevada, I am truly amused to hear what Harry Reid has to say about Mitt Romney and his faith. Yes, both are Mormons. But that's where the similarity ends. Harry Reid is known as one of the most corrupt Nevada Politicians ever to come out of Nevada. Many people compare Reid to McCarren. On each comparison, McCarren comes out on top and yet Harry Reid wanted to remove McCarrens name from our Airport in Las Vegas. Why, most likely to put his name on the airport. Mitt Romney give on averag 30% of "all his earnings" to charity, Reid at the most might give 10% – at the most. I have it on good contacts that Harry Reid's land deals were so corrupt they are still being investigated. His cronyism is well known by "forcing" the cities to hire his sons. He tried everything to get his son in as Governor of the State but, Nevadans were not going to have that. Harry Reid pays less taxes that Mitt Romney and, hides most if not all of his monies in bogus "trusts." Ask Harry Reid to produce his tax records – watch him scramble! I'm a member of the mormon church and I hold Harry Reid in the highest for of contempt for his actions. Reid is a crook. What nothing more than to spend, spend and spend and tax everyone to death for moremoney to spend. He is the epitome of a corrupt tax and spend liberal (lying) Democrat. Not one thing more. And as far as I feel – as disgrace to teh Mormon Church and all of it's members.

    September 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • nookly

      How does Harry become as rich as he has on a senators salary?

      September 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Stupid

      it actually sounds like your saying ried should be a republican, i guess its ok for all morron i mean morman politicians to lie and wear magical draws,

      September 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • RWatkins

      I also live in Las Vegas, for 35 years now, and I know from having Mormon friends, that there are many who are smart upstanding citizens and rational thinking people, and there are those who are not, like people of all religions. Harry Reid has been a great benefit for the state and Clark County, and I would place him in the former category. RGClark is in the latter category. Stop listening to AM talk radio, Clark, I beg you.

      September 25, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • bjMiller

      How right you are about dear old Harry. I really do think he has dementia. He is the proof of how
      some politicians can say anything and get by with it.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  4. Nuance

    Willard is a "false prophet".

    September 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • DaninDC

      If Mormons behaved like Muslims, you'd be toast.

      September 25, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  5. Heather

    My cvnt is pretty gross. I must have contracted herpes from the muslim guy I met at taco bell,where I happen to be employed.

    September 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  6. Liskquino

    HARRY REID....has to be one of Americas most disliked man....I never seen him smile.....except when he is next to Nacy Pelosi (Americas most hated woman)..........so for ol' Harry boy to come out slamming Romney as not being morman enough means that his Tax cheat lies didn't work and he is scared....very scared to have Romney in a higher position than him.....REID=FAIL

    September 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  7. Ann

    Mr. Reid, now you change the subject of attack. Where is YOUR proof that Romney didn't pay taxes?

    September 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • sally

      Rummy pirate hasn't disclosed all that has been asked of him, so he's still obviously hiding something. Until he does, the burden is on him – he is the one going against the norm for what should be shown to the American people.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • CommonSense

      Whining is so unbecoming Sally!

      September 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Kate

      Let's release Harry Reid's taxes. I'd love to know why he has so much money and I've also read about his corrupt land deals that should be investigated.

      September 26, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  8. skarphace

    Reid should just keep his mouth shut. Is he trying to help Romney get elected? Is that his plan? Remember how badly the 'birther' conspiracy backfired before making the same mistake yourself. Please think before you speak, Reid.

    September 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • sally

      Probably so. But we still need to know the whole story on the taxes.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • CommonSense

      Dear Sally, is that all you can focus on. This country is in serious trouble, and all you want is tax returns? If he releases them, then what? Can we make the same demands for all that Obama is hiding? Please focus on the real issues!

      September 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  9. luvsgunsandamerica

    Harry Reid is a senior U.S. Senator and a member of the Democratic Party, as well as an attorney at law and has a net worth of $5 million. Harry Reid has earned his net worth through his lucrative career in politics, As anyone knows,lawyers lie all the time to justify themselves,just like binbama

    September 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • skarphace

      binbama? Really? What is that in reference to, bin Laden? You are probably one of those people that thinks that the term 'bigot' is a compliment.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • sally

      And that tax lie that Rummy pirate is still covering up sure must be a big one for him to put up this much trouble concealing it.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • nookly

      Obama and Osama both have friends that bombed the Pentagon.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  10. Joeseph Watley III

    I agree, he should not be the face of the modern mormon church. I was raised mormon (though I no longer practice my whole family is mormon) and they are kind giving people. Most of the ultra conservatives that claim to be good christains don't seem to follow the teachings of christ much. No, America should and is not a welfare state, but didn't Christ say to help the poor?

    September 25, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • MikeC711

      Interesting you say that since conservatives give far more than progressives. They are not as generous with other people's wealth (a strength of progressives) ... but in personal giving, they are far stronger. Romney provided his last taxes (while BHO still holds back all college records) and not only did he pay a higher percentage ... his charitable giving (over $4M) was over 100 times as high as Joe Biden's. As for Mormonism ... is Reid's proAbortion stance what makes him a better candidate for the face of Mormonism (or at least one who feels he can judge who is). Please see the % giving that Reid did vs what Romney did. Or just stay that deadly combination of incompetent yet confident.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  11. iammeyouareyou

    Throughout this very long and nasty campaign, and all the attention paid to Mitt Romney and his religion, I am shocked to learn that Harry Reid is also of the same faith. (Also shocked to learn that Harry Reid even HAS a faith, but I digress...) Why is this startling revelation coming out now? Maybe because Harry & Co. finally found a point to criticize Romney on, as in, "I am one of you Mormons, but not Mitt". How lame and what a strech. I am sure most Mormons are more like Mitt Romney than Harry Reid and sad to find Harry in thier faith.

    September 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Al

      Man Oh Man, you can say that again.

      September 25, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    September 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi prayerbot.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  13. Heather

    Liberals (yes, a generalization) have proven to be the most small minded, closed minded, and moraless people. Oddly enough, years ago I thought they were open-minded. At least Mitt is a stand up, honest guy. The libs have to throw every lie in the book at him because they have nothing. Because Obama has no accomplishments, he and the rest of the liberals have to bash Romney rather than talking about jobs, the economy, foreign policy, etc. Sad for our country and sad that that's what the media latches on to.

    September 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • skarphace

      If you really think that Obama has occomplished nothing, then you too have been influenced by the media.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  14. Jon

    The real question isn't what Reid says ... but who is putting him up to what he is saying. Look closely and you will find the puppet strings that make him move reach all the way back to the White house. What has Harry been promised ... is he looking for another retirement package from the State Department as an ambassador?
    Another thing I would like to know ... how is Reid paying 100K a year for a room in the Ritz Carlton on his salary of $174K as a Senator? I calculated this by taking the lowest priced room ($265) and multiplying it by 365 ... he doesn't have a low priced room he has a suite which goes for over $600-$1000 per night.
    $174k a year at a 20% tax bracket would leave Reid $135K to live on. So Reid spends $100k of his $135K a year he makes on a hotel room for him to live in? Something is wrong with this picture. Now with a salary that he nets $35k a year after paying for his lodging, how did he get to be worth over $9 million? Well I know one way. Not pay taxes could help, maybe that is why he thinks Romney doesn’t pay taxes – because he doesn’t.
    Special Note: If you say he is getting a discount because he is a Senator, does he claim the discount on his taxes as income, which is actually a taxable event.

    September 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  15. Shash Nahalin

    Harry Reid was caught in a lie. His double down on nasty. Did he really just jump the shark? Not a good sign.

    September 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  16. laurie

    Ha.... Reid is a big reason America does not trust Congress..... and definitely not the one to be calling anyone out on their faith. What an idiot.... His kind of leadership is the reason our country is in this mess to begin with.... and a great argument for term limits. Pelosi's lap dog should go sit in the corner.

    September 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Ragatang

      Reid has the right to speak his mine, if you don't like that you can take a hike. He is not religious but just American.

      September 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      Reid is just a politician doing what politician's do. However, with only a couple of exceptions, he is been on the right side of the issues in my book. He is a Liberal that plays hard ball.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Heather

      Ragtang: Harry should NOT have the right to abuse his power by blatantly lying about Romney on the Senate floor. No matter if you're Democrat or Republican, our country should demand higher standards than that.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Al

      You got one thing right, Ragatang, Harry Reid is not religious. That's pretty clear for everyone to see. ...about speaking his mind... He represents the Senate of the United States, for crying out loud. He diminishes the reputation of the whole Senate when he makes such outrageous statements.

      September 25, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  17. Liskquino

    Wow Harry Reid is so jealous of Mitt Romney……The truth is that Harry Reid converted over to the LDS church for what the church could do for him and so he could take advantage of the kindness of the people and then bring them down like he has brought down America….I think HARRY REID is one of the most disliked people (next to Pelosi) in America……plus Reid has done nothing to help out his fellow man.

    September 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  18. Harry

    Reid is acting like a Muslim in the middle east. Guess Obama won't stand up to Harry either.

    September 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  19. politics as usual

    The Mormon religion has survived worse attacks than Harry Reid's, and will continue to do so. Mitt Romney is an honorable man who I would be proud to have represent me in Washington or anywhere else, while I would be ashamed to have Harry Reid as the face of ANYthing I belonged to.

    September 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Willis

      Come on, Chill with the Censorship.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  20. Theen Allah Fat Mullah (the original hinduism source.....)

    Chain baristas absurdity of star bucks, ignorant slaves of expresso, mocha, muddy unfiltered house coffee, First they deny hawaiin kona , foundation of best coffee and than accepted aribaica beans, but for a self serving latte, franchise crooks, Turned around and seattle coffee capital, seatele, deniers of french coffee Way of juan valdes criminal goons to chillean beans fool humanity. Visit my link yumyumjava.com and click on bestcoffee link to open.

    September 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
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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.