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January 18th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

Evangelical for Mitt: A South Carolina power broker promotes the frontrunner

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (CNN) – You’ve probably never heard of her, but Cindy Costa’s tablemates at a Sunday prayer breakfast here hint at her influence.

Inside a hotel ballroom bulging with 400 socially conservative activists, Costa is seated with the headliners: White House hopeful Rick Perry and political operative Ralph Reed.

And when Rick Santorum and his wife Karen arrive at the Sheraton’s Ballroom E about 10 minutes into the program, they join her table, too.

It’s doubtful that many of the press photographers descending around Costa to snap pictures of Santorum and Perry, heads bowed in prayer, could identify her. But the power players seated around Costa know she’s a South Carolina Republican institution.

“In a critical early primary state, Cindy has bridged the historic divide between faith-based grassroots activists of the party and the old guard,” says Reed, who’s known her for 20 years. “That can be a much more difficult mating dance than it appears.”

Indeed, with the South Carolina presidential primary just days away, Costa – perhaps more than anyone in the state – embodies the mix of establishment party power and evangelical fervor that will determine the outcome here.

If she has her way, that outcome will be a victory for the candidate whose name she wears in a bright blue pin in her lapel: Mitt Romney. Costa says her support for the candidate is largely rooted in her evangelical Christian faith.

For 15 years, Costa has served on the 150-member Republican National Committee, the party’s governing body. But she says it’s her relationship with God, not politics, that guides her life.

“Happy New Year. God bless you!” she tells Republican activists swinging by her table at the prayer breakfast to say hello.

“My faith is the most important thing – my husband and family are second,” the mother of four says later, crossing the street outside the Sheraton to pick up her credentials for the following night’s presidential debate.

For Costa, Romney is a brother in Christ and a devoted family man – and the one candidate with the intellect and organization to defeat President Obama. “If Romney gets the right Congress,” she tells many activists she meets, “you’re looking at another Ronald Reagan.”

And yet Costa is clear-eyed about the challenges the former Massachusetts governor faces among many Bible Belt evangelicals, who are expected to constitute around 60% of voters in the Saturday primary here. Many are wary of Romney’s religion and past support for abortion rights.

Despite Romney’s strong showing in recent South Carolina polls, more than a few activists at the Sheraton are backing Santorum, the dyed-in-the wool culture warrior.

Whether Costa can coax people like them over to her side will go a long way in determining whether South Carolina anoints Romney as the all-but-certain Republican nominee or derails his march to the nomination, handing a victory to Santorum, Perry or Newt Gingrich.

No one knows that more than the Romney campaign, with senior campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom calling Costa a “good friend to Mitt and Ann Romney.”

“She's very down to earth, honest and sincere,” Fehrnstrom says. “Having her on the team is a big boost for us.”

For Costa, any concerns about Romney’s Mormonism were put to rest at a 2008 forum she attended in upstate South Carolina, an evangelical stronghold, at which the candidate spent half a day taking questions from pastors.

“They asked who he thought Jesus Christ was, and his answer was that Jesus Christ was his Lord and savior,” Costa says. “And I said, ‘OK, here we are. That’s what I believe.’”

Many evangelicals part company with Costa on that point. Though Mormons consider themselves to be Christian, surveys show that about half of white evangelicals don't think they are.

“I will let Romney define who he is,” Costa says. “If he says Jesus Christ is his Lord and savior, who am I to say ‘No, he’s not?’”

Roots of Mormon support

There are other reasons Costa is keen on Romney and comfortable with his religion. A day spent campaigning with Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, and a Romney daughter-in-law, Mary, in 2008 made Costa’s support for the candidate personal.

The committeewoman crisscrossed South Carolina with Ann and Mary on a campaign bus, with Ann delivering speeches at stops along the way.

“Relationships are a powerful thing,” Costa says. “When I was on the bus with them, I just felt like I was with people in my church. I felt like they were no different than me.”

Four years ago, plenty of other South Carolina evangelicals appeared to feel differently, with Romney placing fourth behind John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson.

Costa, for her part, tends to be open to people from other religions. Her stepfather, who she has called “Dad” since he moved in with her family when she was 2, is Jewish.

Her mother had Southern Baptist roots, and the couple largely ignored both traditions, making for a secular household. But when an aunt took 7-year-old Cindy to a Baptist church one Sunday, she was hooked – though not necessarily on Jesus.

Costa says she grew up poor – her stepdad was a mail sorter – and she fell hard for the church’s supplies of crayons and orange juice.

The Charleston church’s Sunday School teacher, whom Costa knew as Miss Hopkins, would pick her up from home and take her to church every Sunday morning for the next decade.

“She saw a child that needs support in a household where she’d not been given that opportunity,” Costa says. “She will get credit for me in heaven.”

Costa’s dad didn’t bring up his Judaism much, except when his adolescent stepdaughter once asked why he hadn’t formally adopted her. “I didn’t want you to live with a Jewish name because I know it could be a really negative thing,” he told her. “It could affect who would even date you.”

Costa was grateful: “What great love that he was looking out for me.”

‘A culture in a moral decline’

Costa wasn’t too interested in politics until she saw Ronald Reagan. It was 1976, and he’d come to the Charleston County Republican Convention seeking support for his bid to wrest the party’s nomination from President Ford.

Smitten by Reagan, the 20-year-old Costa was miffed to find she couldn’t get a seat as a delegate at the convention. The reason: Her voting precinct had never been organized.

So Costa vowed to organize it, setting in motion her decades-long rise through county, state and national party machinery.

A stay-at-home mom in the 1980s, her budding activism was motivated largely by her born-again faith and her growing family. The fledgling “family values” movement, bent on restoring school prayer and overturning Roe v. Wade, spoke to her.

When Costa stumbled upon Pat Robertson’s “700 Club” on TV, she thought she’d found President Reagan’s successor: “He was the first one that seared into my heart that we were a culture in a moral decline.

“That was around the time we found out about AIDS, and Robertson was telling people you can’t do this,” she says, referring to homosexuality. “It seems like a simple thing, but no one wants to say that because it could hurt someone’s feelings.”

Costa volunteered for Robertson’s 1988 presidential campaign. Though the candidate faded after a strong finish in Iowa, he put evangelicals like Costa on the political map.

She would go on to help launch the South Carolina chapter of the Christian Coalition, which rose from the ashes of Robertson’s campaign, and she became state prayer chairman for the group in the 1990s.

Her eldest daughter, Jenny, remembers watching her parents being interviewed on NBC News on Election Night 1994 about the swelling ranks of evangelical voters. Hours later, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.

“There were some evangelicals at the time saying that politics is dirty and they should stay out of it,” says Jenny Costa Honeycutt, now a Charleston lawyer who was 15 at the time. “And my parents were willing to stand up and be heard. That was a big night for me.”

For Cindy Costa, the moral drift that Pat Robertson discerned wasn’t limited to politics. She saw it in her church life, too.

The same year she joined Robertson’s campaign, the Costas left their longtime Episcopal church amid talk that Episcopalians would start ordaining gay clergy.

“Once you do that, you have to ordain any sinful person,” says Costa, who wound up co-founding a nondenominational, evangelical-style church with her husband Louis and others in James Island, just south of Charleston. “The Bible is very clear on that.

“You start hacking up the Bible and take out this little thing you don’t like and that little thing, and you have something that’s not the Bible anymore.”

All together now

If she sometimes talks like a culture warrior, Costa hardly looks the part.

A former Mrs. South Carolina who is often introduced as a “true Charleston belle” at political events, Costa has high cheekbones, shoulder-length blonde hair and looks at least a decade younger than her 56 years.

The wife of a plastic surgeon, she says she's "benefitted from her husband's services" but won't discuss specifics.

She favors black scarves, knee-high boots and Ann Taylor dresses that are inexpensive enough that she can discard them with a clear conscience after a single season.

Costa, in other words, has the style of a card-carrying member of the national political establishment, which she officially joined in 1996 when she was first elected as one of the state’s three members of the RNC. (She is currently seeking a fifth four-year term.)

Like many of the political rebels who campaigned for Robertson against George H.W. Bush almost 25 years ago, Costa is now a party insider, balancing ideological stances on abortion with practical concerns like party unity.

“That’s a big change,” says Reed, who led the Christian Coalition in the 1990s. “These are no longer folks with funny hats whose noses are pressed against the glass of the party. Now they’re on the inside, they’re the party leaders.”

At a pre-debate reception on Monday sponsored by Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Costa watches Reed and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint throw out rhetorical red meat for a crowd of conservative donors before taking the floor herself.

But Costa strikes a decidedly different tone, calling on fellow Republicans to start thinking about the need for party unity after the brutal primary season passes.

“The eyes of the nation are on us tonight,” she says. “So behave yourselves, and smile for the cameras.”

Afterward, walking to a Faith and Freedom Coalition rally at which she’ll lead the Pledge of Allegiance before the five remaining Republican presidential candidates deliver remarks before the debate, Costa says the quest for unity is a hallmark of her life that’s rooted in the Bible.

She explains how she and her husband apply the principal at the plastic surgery center they run in Charleston, asking employees to resolve differences among themselves before coming to them for help. Cindy is the center's business administrator.

Perhaps nothing illustrates Costa’s pursuit of party unity – a preoccupation for any establishment leader - as much as her support for Mitt Romney, who many grassroots conservatives distrust in part because of his establishment backing.

After watching Romney deliver a well-received speech at the pre-debate rally, she darts off to be interviewed by a young evangelical radio host who broadcasts in the most solidly evangelical part of South Carolina, around Spartanburg and Greenville.

The host, Josh Kimbrell, is a Santorum supporter but asks Costa to talk about Romney.

“I had the opportunity to do a bus trip across the state with Ann Romney, and it was a real bonding experience,” she says, leaning into the microphone and wearing a pair of big headphones upside down so it doesn't mess up her hair before the debate.

“I’ve come to respect the family tremendously and just know he’d be a great president.”

When Kimbrell asks what she expects to happen after Saturday’s primary, Costa again picks up the banner of unity, sounding about as far away from a Pat Robertson culture warrior as you could imagine.

“As Republicans, we need to be winsome in our message, be kind and loving,” she says.

“There’s no reason to be hateful. That’s just not who we are.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • South Carolina

soundoff (1,003 Responses)
  1. Hikerstud

    Augustghost is it necessary to say religious nut case? I mean of the 6 billion humans on the planet who believe in a deity or God are there any smarter than you?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @hikerstud
      What makes you sure your God is the right one?
      If you're a Christian, how can you be sure that your sect is the right one?
      The penalty for choosing wrong is eternal torment.... so how do you know whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, oriental Orthodox, As.syrian, Byzantine, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Anabaptism, Brethren, Methodist, Pietism, Apostolic, Pentocostal, Charismatic, African Initiated, United, Quakers, Couthcotti.tism, Millerism, British-Isrealism, Latter Day Saints, Mennonite, 7th day Adventism, Kelleyism, Co.oneyism, Shakers, Methernitha, Strigolniki, Yehowism, Christadelphians, Christian Science, doukhobors, Iglesia ni Cristo, Makuya, Molokans, Subbotniks, Ebionism, Martinism, Rosicrucians, Rastafarianism, Santo Daime, or Umbanda is the REAL interpretation of your God's words?

      January 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  2. muhron

    She "embodies the mix of establishment party power and evangelical fervor." Just what this nation needs... Yuck.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • skarphace

      Better Romney than that freak Santorum. A Romney Presidency would not be much different than an Obama Presidency. A Santorum Presidency would further polarize this once great country.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • rob

      Um leave right now kthxbye
      Your comments reek of ignorance, arrogance, and plain old immaturity.
      I'm assuming you need to feel better about yourself and your president because you both have let you down.
      Your tall, dark, and handsome potus won't be there to save you after you talk yourself into a hole and can only rely on the facts to get you out. Because you obviously have NONE, you are no authority to speak on any of this....

      January 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  3. Woman

    The people she is friends with probably would have rejected her if she had been adopted and gotten her stepfather's last name. I wish he would have given it to her. Being accepted by bigots is worst than being rejected by them.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  4. skarphace

    There are certain qualities that we need in a President:

    1) They should not have a big ego. This would eliminate Gingrich.
    2) They should not let their religious faith interfere with their ability to lead this very diverse nation. This would disqualify Santorum.
    3) They should not change their positions for the sole purpose of getting votes. This would leave out Romney.

    There are only two candidates that have all of these qualifications: Ron Paul and Obama. Of the two, I prefer the fiscal conservative, Ron Paul. If Ron Paul is not nominated, however, my vote goes, once again, to Barack Obama.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • muhron

      They should not be a racist hick who covers up his past ties to white supremacist supporters. That would leave out Paul.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • skarphace

      Propaganda and lies from the establishment that fears Ron Paul. Prove me wrong. Give me a direct quote from Paul himself that proves he is a racist. If he is such a white supremist, this should be easy to find in our current information age.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • rob

      @muhron
      That is such an ignorant, immature comment. Let's see some proof of this.
      You're a prime example of what ppl resort to when they can't use actual FACTS.
      You have to make up childish insults to make yourself FEEL like you know something.
      You just made a comment that was absolutely false and ridiculous. Now I know what kind of a FOOL you really are by one sentence. Way to go moron.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Darryl

      I'm with you somewhat. If Ron Paul or Romney are on the ticket, I'll vote Republican (as I've done my entire life except for the last election). If neither of them get the ticket, its Obama again. Maybe this is why Obama doesn't want Romney to win the ticket...

      January 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • cbinal

      @Skarphase Obama??? Obama fails numbers 1 and 3 from your list. He has a bigger ego than any person I've ever seen. And, all he's ever done is change positions to get votes. Heck that's how he's got where he's at, he's never taken a stance on anything.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • cbinal

      @Darryl Thats right, he doesn't want Romney on the ticket because they are too much alike, both Liberals. If Romney is on the ticket it doesn't matter who wins you get the same person. I won't vote for him.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  5. A free man

    that woman has crazy eyes beyond belief. The south can go ahead and try to secede again, I certainly wont stop them!

    January 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      And California. For that mattery both coastlines and the southern border can all drop into a sea slide and I think finally the country would be ok.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  6. JackWagon

    Romney is nothing but a con man puppet of the ultra-rich privileged interests. He admits he paid 15% income tax. I don't make a fraction of what he made and I paid 28% income tax. If I was paying less tax I could be a "job creator" for real. Romney has cost us jobs.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • skarphace

      You are incorrect. Romney did not pay 15% income tax. He paid 15% capital gains tax. This is, by law, the correct amount to pay. I agree that the capital gains tax should be higher, but Romney did not pay less taxes than he should have, by any means. And trust me, I am not a Romney supporter. Obama would have my vote over Romney.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • jon

      Man, I don't like this relgious baloney so heavily involved in our politics. And it just seems to be getting worse. These "born agains" were the ones in Ohio (the state that has the most of them) who put Georgie over the top back in 2004. Then, after sitting around with their hands held together and looking skyward, they lost thousands of manufacturing companies and tens of thousands of good paying manufacturing jobs when they all went off- shore. How did that work out for you??? Why do these people always vote against their best interests?? Not too bright I guess.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • cbinal

      @jon You can say the same thing for all those people who voted for Obama in Penn. They lost their jobs too. That plant that Obama stood in and gave as an example of people needing him instead of Bush. It's shut down and they're all out of work. Those people who voted for Obama must have been really stupid.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  7. TeddyG

    The pin on her lapel might say Romney, but the pin on her skirt says, 'Herman Cain was here'.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  8. Bonnie

    Sounds like Ms. Costa might be a bit like Angle Lansbury's character in the 1948 movie State of the Union. Great movie to watch during campaign season.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  9. rob

    "Costa says her support for the candidate is largely rooted in her evangelical Christian faith."
    Yeah right! Why don't you ask Mitt if you can worship with him at his church. Sorry you will be left at the door. Guess what, even if you kid marries a Morman, unless you convert, you don't get to see them get married. You have to wait outside. :-(. That is just the start. I guess Costa believe's he might get to be on Romney's planet when he becomes a God.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • abe

      You might want to double check your facts before you post them on a public forum. Mormon's accept don't turn away anyone from coming to their church, so she could worship with him. Their temples are different, where only Mormon's that are living their faith are allowed to enter due to the feeling that the temple is a sacred place, and wanting to keep it holy. For comparison, see the tabernacle in the Old Testament and recognize that only a few were able to enter in to certain parts of the tabernacle. One of the religious ordinances that occurs in the temple is marriage, due to Mormon's believing that marriage can be eternal. That is why those not of their faith, or those of their faith who aren't living the precepts taught, aren't allowed to see the actual wedding. I hope this helps clarify the issue.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • cbinal

      Totally agree with you. She obviously doesn't understand what he really believes which is part of the lie. She says he believes in Jesus as Lord well, Obama says the same thing. I'm a Christian that usually votes Republican, but, if Romney wins the nomination, there is no way in heck I will vote for him. If you can be deceived by a cult anybody can deceive you.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • cbinal

      @Abe Ok so he didn't get the "she can't worship with them right" because sure they will let her, they think they're getting a new convert. But, as you plainly pointed out, he got the "can't participate in the marriage" part right. That shouldn't be anything secretive. But, there are lots of other secrets you guys don't like to share either. Some that very few are aware of . You used to keep the whole baptism for the dead thing secret, which is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  10. bear

    She grew up poor her father was a mail sorter. Rep. Issa Republican from California says they are overpaid. Funny how some people forget where they come.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  11. Elliot

    At least it's not Santorum juice getting the endorsement. Not too fond of Mitt either.....I guess I'll just be voting 3rd party again. You can say I waste my vote but if all you clowns wouldn't think you were wasting your vote on a 3rd party candidate we might actually solve some problems in this country. How can you support these zealots or Obummer? I don't get it?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • cbinal

      I'm with ya Elliot!

      January 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  12. Mike

    "...will go a long way in determining whether South Carolina anoints Romney as the all-but-certain Republican nominee or derails his march to the nomination, handing a victory to Santorum, Perry or Newt Gingrich."

    Forgetting someone....? Maybe Ron Paul who has been in the top tier throughout the primaries so far? But I guess Perry has a much better chance to beat Romney than Paul given his progress so far. Come on CNN, what's the problem with giving him fair coverage. It's disgraceful.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • rob

      that's because it DOESN'T AFFECT Ron Paul, just the other losers. In Fact, it is PROVEN that Ron Paul and Mitt both tie with Obama.
      BUT HEY THE MEDIA SAYS ONLY THE TRUTH SO PPL CAN BELIEVE THEM. SHEEPLE GET WHAT THEY DESERVE.
      A NATION OF SHEEP BREEDS A GOVERNMENT OF WOLVES

      January 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  13. JEEBUS

    It must be comforting for the Republican voters to know that elites have already selected their candidate for them.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • 99 percent

      Oh no, educated liberal people are the elites. Those Wall Street guys are job-creators.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • rob

      EXACTLY.
      I love how they say things to make it look like Mitt is the hands down winner. He's not, at all! In fact, MOST reps don't want him as POTUS!
      The media is PLAYING YOU PEOPLE and the sooner you realize that and vote for the TRUE CONSERVATIVE, RON PAUL the sooner I'll have any respect for you. Otherwise, you deserve what you get.
      Romney is another Obama. He simply admits it!
      He supports NDAA for christs sake! That is an ATTACK ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!
      Now if you vote for him then you are voting for the New World Order and WAR ON US CITIZENS. YOUR CHOICE SHEEPLE.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  14. 99 percent

    Closed-minded ignorant religious fanatics suckered by greedy investment bankers.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Zenichi-Maro

      Funny, I think that was the original headline for this piece.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      Yes we need people who are godless, who care nothing about right and wrong morals who abort human life on a whim, who hate capitalism, who hate life really as they try to make everyone a fudgepacking parasite life form who cannot reproduce spit. Yes Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Fife oops I mean Frank. They are real heroes we can look up to.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • cbinal

      Hikerstud you read my mind except instead of Barney Fife I was thinking Elmer Fud-gepacker

      January 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  15. mojobutta

    Romney would steal the presidency from his mom if he could. The guy hurt a lot of people to feed his greed. If you have to go Republican, get an honest guy like Paul.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  16. RobertOKUSA

    Nothing on this Earth divides people so effectively as religion, including all the thousands of Christian splinter groups (Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Mormon, etc). It may be difficult to convince all the southerners to vote for a Mormon. Oh wait, I forgot about race...Obama is half-black. Never mind.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      I would take a catholic, baptist,morman etc any day over an athiestic godless communistic murderous regime like China or Russia or Cambodia where the slaughtered tens of millions of their own citizens. You are beginning to sound just like them hating the regular fols who 90% have always believed in some way. That or just bow and worship Satan the father of lies who has decieved you and now I have awakened you.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      Remember the scientist and evolutionist say the black man is inferior. The christian teachings never say that even if you repeat your lies thousands of times in your own head.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Hikerstud
      The human species is broken down into three distinct sub-species – caucasoid, mongoloid and ne/groid – each of which has distinct characteristics. Evolutionary biologists have nothing to say about whose characteristics are superior or inferior – they merely doc.ument the physiological differences.
      You are conflating evolution with eugenics.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  17. Coflyboy

    ...and when will we actually observe the meaning of "Separation of Church and State"? When will you bible-thumpers "get it"?
    America is no better than the fanatics of the middle east. Worst part: the American people buy into this. Idiots.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      55 of 59 who signed the declaration of independence were christian clergy you idiot. You know nothing about history and yet you spew hatred toward the people who gave this country life. You know nothing of natural law which has been accepted for over two thousand years. YOu have it all backwards and in your ignorance the communist dictator types will make you a slave. America has been free as we were educated on liberty. YOu are the problem.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Hikerstud
      The only signer of the Declaration of Independence who was clergy was J.ohn Wi.the.rsp.oon, who was president of Princeton College at a time when all college presidents were ministers.
      A few others tried their hands at preaching – which was not uncommon for a literate man at that time – but a preacher is not clergy.
      Check your facts before calling someone an idiot.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  18. Adam

    Ugh, the amount of money being thrown around by these elitists. Someone should be turning over tables with these hypocrites.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • STLBroker

      Yeah, I'm sure Obama won't spend much money seeking re-election. You are the hypocrite in thinking that it is okay for Democrat elitists to throw money around but not Republican. They are all elitist and so were the Founding Fathers of this country by the way. In fact, that was by design. They thought the ideal candidate was an independantly wealthy and powerful person with the reasoning being that they would be less likely to be corrupted by money or power since they already had it.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  19. rationalt92

    Anyone that believes in gods, angels, demons, heaven or hell should not be allowed to vote or run for office, we should only allow well grounded sane people to do that......

    January 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  20. augustghost

    If Mitt wit brings in a religious nut case he's doomed

    January 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
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About this blog

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.