November 5th, 2012
01:19 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – In campaign time, it’s ancient history: a 2007 video showing a testy off-air exchange between Mitt Romney and a radio host over the candidate’s faith and his stance on abortion.
But the back-and-forth has resurfaced in the days before Election Day. Video of the exchange posted on YouTube on October 31 had garnered nearly 1.8 million page views as of noon ET Monday.
“You don’t understand my church like I do,” Romney tells conservative Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson near the beginning of the roughly five-minute video, recorded in August 2007. “I understand my faith better then you do. You don’t believe me, do you?
“I don’t like coming on the air and having you going after my church and me,” says Romney, who at the time was conducting his first campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. “I’m not running as a Mormon, and I get a little tired of coming on a show like yours and it being all about Mormon.”
The Washington Post reported that Romney has said he didn’t know he was being recorded, saying the conversation had been captured by “hidden camera” after a radio interview.
The video was posted by YouTube user thedbartnick, whose comments on the video include: “There is only one way to defeat this nut, Vote for Barack Obama on Election Day.”
The video has been promoted online largely by Romney’s opponents.
During the exchange, the radio host suggests Romney’s former support for abortion rights was out of step with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, prompting the former governor to explain that his church opposes abortion but tolerates members who support abortion rights.
At another point, Mickelson presses Romney on Mormon belief about Jesus’ Second Coming. Romney explains that Latter-day Saints expect Jesus to appear in Jerusalem but then, over the course of millennia, to reign both from Jerusalem and Missouri.
A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, Andrea Saul, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
As a candidate, Romney has sought to avoid talking about his Mormonism. He gave a speech about his faith in 2007 but has talked about his religion in the broadest possible way this time around, speaking in terms that all Christians would find familiar.
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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.