29 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses
It goes without saying that one should not talk about politics and religion at the dinner table, especially during the holiday season.
But in a presidential campaign, common practices are often tossed out the window when it gets down to crunch time.
Mitt Romney tackles both topics in a major address on the broad issue of faith in America and of course, his own Mormon faith on Thursday at 10:30 am ET at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, TX.
The speech is entitled "Faith in America" and Romney's campaign is billing it as "an opportunity for Governor Romney to share his views on religious liberty, the role religious tolerance has played in our nation's progress and how the Governor's faith would inform his presidency."
The speech comes just days after a Des Moines Register poll shows Mike Huckabee as the new frontrunner in Iowa, with a five point lead over Romney (29-24 percent). That same poll found that Huckabee leads Romney 38 percent to 22 percent among those surveyed who consider themselves born-again Christians. An ABC News poll from this summer found that 39 percent of Republican said they were "uncomfortable" with the idea of a Mormon president
Romney advisers tell ABC News' John Berman that the former governor felt "time has come to address the issue." Aides insist that the poll number did not influence their decision to give this speech now, and said that that decision was Romney's alone.
The speech is a gamble that Romney is willing to take with less than a month remaining before the Iowa caucuses.
Best case scenario for Romney: the speech sheds some light on Romney's Mormon faith and how that plays a role in his life and addresses voters' concerns enough to stop Huckabee's forward progress in the Hawkeye State. Worst case scenario, Romney shines a giant spotlight on exactly the wrong issue and causes voters think more about his religion and whether that affects their vote.
Per ABC News' Berman, the speech is mostly a Romney production – the former governor has no designated speech writer on staff and for the most part writes his speeches himself. ABC News' Matt Stuart reports that Romney wrote a draft of the speech at the Hilton in Boca Raton, Florida last Thursday following the CNN/YouTube/Republican Party of Florida debate.
(The campaign provided photos of the former governor working on his speech – very "State of the Union"-like: http://www.mittromney.com/img/Faith_In_America_1.jpg)
On the Campaign Trail. . .
--4:45 pm ET: Holds press conference, Sarasota, FL
--8:00 pm ET: Attends a local house party, Venice, FL
--10:30 am ET: Delivers speech at George Bush Presidential Library, College Station, TX
--8:15 pm ET: Meets with area voters, Las Vegas, NV
--9:30 pm ET: Meets with supporters, Las Vegas, NV
--10:00 am ET: Takes a Timberland Company tour and employee town hall meeting, Stratham, NH
--12:15 pm ET: Delivers remarks to Portsmouth Rotary, Newington, NH
--1:15 pm ET: Holds media availability, Newington, NH
--2:00 pm ET: Attends the Energy Security and Climate Change Forum, Portsmouth, NH
--7:00 pm ET: Attends Raymond town hall meeting, Raymond, NH
--6:00 pm ET: Hosts media availability, Greensboro, NC
As for the Democrats. . .
-- 11:30 am ET: Attends campaign event, Gilford, NH
--3:30 pm ET: Attends campaign event, Manchester, NH
--7:30 pm ET: Attends "Holidays with Hillary" reception with John Grisham, Union Station, Washington, DC
-- Has no public events, Chicago, IL
-- 11:00 am ET: Attends the opening of Oconee County Democratic Party, Seneca, SC
--12:15 pm ET: Holds press availability at his childhood home, Seneca, SC
--1:15 pm ET: Attends Generation Next Votes 2008, Walhalla, SC
--Holds press availability
--4:30 pm ET: Holds press availability, Charleston, SC
--6:30 pm ET: Holds meet and greet and delivers remarks to Charleston County Democratic women holiday party, Charleston, SC
-- 10:30 am ET: Attends town hall meeting at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA.
--1:00 pm ET: Attends town hall meeting at Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, IA
--6:00 pm ET: Senator Dodd meets fire fighter tour bus, Des Moines, IA
-- Holds evening fundraiser, FL
At the White House. . .
-- 5:00 pm ET: Participates along with First Lady Laura Bush in the 2007 lighting of the National Christmas Tree ceremony, Washington, DC
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM ABC News' Jennifer Parker Reports: Huckabee Courts Evangelical Vote in Iowa LINK
ABC News' Kate Snow and Eloise Harper Report: Clinton Disses Wall Street, Calls for Foreclosure Moratorium LINK
ABC News' Kevin Chupka Reports: Huckabee Talks Religion With GQ LINK
ABC News' Bret Hovell reports from Manchester, NH: Red Sox Ace Makes Pitch for McCain LINK
ABC News' Ann Compton Reports: Jenna Bush Phones Home LINK
ABC News' Jan Simmonds Reports: Giuliani Ad Uses Iranian Hostage Crisis To Illustrate How To Handle Terror LINK
ABC News' Raelyn Johnson Reports: Edwards Injects a little Humor with Lawyer Joke LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: No Huckaboom in NH LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Not a Christmas 'Present' LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: She can't do it LINK
ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: Democrats Battle Over Character, Electability LINK
POLITICAL VIDEO ON ABCNEWS.COM
Santa Endorses Romney Mitt Romney gets a surprise visit from Santa in Dubuque, Iowa. LINK
Obama Recruits Iowans Sen. Obama encourages Iowa students to caucus on January 3. LINK
Giuliani Ad: 'One Hour' Giuliani ad, set to air in Boston and N.H., invokes the legacy of Ronald Reagan. LINK
Mike Huckabee Surges in Iowa Brian Ross discusses the politician's past experience and political future. LINK
Ahead in Iowa, Behind in New Hampshire ABC News poll finds Republican Mike Huckabee trailing in the Granite State. LINK
Bush Deems Iran Report a 'Warning Sign' The president believes Iran poses a nuclear threat despite intel findings. LINK
Preview of 'Most Fascinating People' Barbara Walters gives us an inside look in her "Most Fascinating People" special. LINK