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NYT: Romney's Mormon Faith Reason He Might Run Again

NYT: Romney's Mormon Faith Reason He Might Run Again
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Monday, 26 January 2015 09:11 AM

Potential presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s devout Mormon faith is strongly tied to his sense of duty and patriotism, which is the overwhelming reason he’s mulling over a third White House run, The New York Times reported.

Citing friends and supporters, the newspaper says that a leading Republican approached Romney, a former pastor, recently and explained to him that he was meant to answer a higher calling from his church, to serve as the president of the United States of America.

"In the Mormon faith, public service is one of the most honorable things you do — to participate in local and national politics is a very honorable thing to do," said Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, new chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Chaffetz, a Mormon who recently spoke with Romney, also told the Times that among Mormon missionaries "the idea of try and try again is something that’s ingrained in the religion."

Although in his previous campaigns for the presidency, the former Massachusetts governor had appeared reluctant to be open about his faith, which negatively affected his chances, Romney plans to embrace his religion in a possible third effort to win the Oval Office.

Kirk Jowers, a Mormon family friend who lives in Utah and formerly chaired Romney’s leadership PAC, said that Romney’s consideration of a third campaign is inspired by an "almost devout belief that he needs to do something for this country."

Jowers told the Times, "In 2008, Romney risked being a caricature of the Mormon candidate. Now everyone seems to know everything about him, and that will be very liberating for him to talk about his faith."

During his 2012 run, Romney was urged by his team not to discuss his religion for fear of turning off many voters, resulting in a vacuum that allowed Romney to face a series of Democratic attack ads, the paper reported.

But last year’s Netflix "Mitt" documentary by Mormon filmmaker Greg Whiteley showed Romney was a man of faith and family, and sources tell the Times that Romney is determined that this is how he wants to be portrayed to the public if he runs again.

Romney, in fact, got the ball rolling this month at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, when he openly talked about his leadership role in his church, as "a pastor for a congregation and for groups of congregations."

"There is something not only with his experience in the church, but with his family’s experience in the church back to the Mormon pioneer days — and the church ethos as a whole does inform his thinking and character and behavior," said Philip Barlow, a Mormon history professor at Utah State University, who has served with him in church.

And Mormon hotel heir Richard Marriott, a leading donor in Romney’s previous campaigns, told the Times that Romney was passionately motivated by religion.

"Our church tells us clearly that when we are in the service of our fellow man, we are in the service of our God," he said. "You have to have a dedication to serving others to be able to withstand the battering you get when running for national office."

Kathleen Flake, a professor of Mormon studies at the University of Virginia, said, "Romney may have a sense of calling to be willing to subject himself to another round of humiliation, but how is that different from William Jennings Bryan or, for that matter, Huckabee or Santorum."

Flake was referring to Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas who ran in the Republican presidential primaries in 2008, and Rick Santorum, who ran in 2012, while Bryan was the failed Democratic nominee in 1896, 1900 and 1908.

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Potential presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's devout Mormon faith is strongly tied to his sense of duty and patriotism, which is the overwhelming reason he's mulling over a third White House run, The New York Times reported.
Mitt Romney, mormon, religion, 2016, presidency
Monday, 26 January 2015 09:11 AM
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