Romney Delivers Major Speech on Faith

Whether related or not, the speech certainly comes at the moment Romney has clearly lost momentum in Iowa, failing to capture supporters after Sen. Sam Brownback's departure from the race and draw those conservative voters disappointed in former Sen. Fred Thompson's campaign.

Faith on the '08 Trail

Much has been made of Romney's Mormon religion throughout the campaign. While reporters covered the topic extensively, his faith was also frequently questioned on the campaign trail.

Before his presidential campaign even officially began, Romney told ABC News' Terry Moran in January that he thought "the American people respect individuals of faith," and that "when you take the oath of office, your highest responsibility is to follow the Constitution and the rule of law."

Soon after, a February ABC News/Washington Post poll found that a third of Americans were less likely to vote for a candidate who was Mormon.

When Romney surprised the Republican field by posting a whopping $20.1 million in first-quarter fundraising, many noted that Romney's second-highest fundraising state was Mormon-dominated Utah.

It's also been reported that Romney's top fundraising zip code is 84604 — Provo, Utah, the home of the most notable Mormon school, Brigham Young University.

Despite Romney's rising to lead in the Iowa polls by early August, the question of "the speech" remained. Romney told The Associated Press in July that it was "more likely than not" that he would give a speech at some point.

On Nov. 10, Romney was speaking at a house party in Holderness, N.H., when he admitted that he "liked the idea" of giving a "special speech" on his religion, but that "the political advisers tell me, 'No, no, no, its not a good idea — draws too much attention to that issue alone.' But I sorta like the idea anyway, and will probably do it at some point."

Romney tried to downplay his comments, even going so far as to say, "there's no news on this," but speculation continued.

Though his faith remains a serious topic for Romney, and a serious issue for some Republican voters, Romney has also made a point of making light of the prejudice against the Mormon faith throughout his campaign.

While speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington in October, Romney asked why the Mormon religion "scares people so badly." Romney quipped, "I'm probably the wrong guy to ask. But my neighbors might know."

One of the stigmas attached to the Mormon religion is the practice of polygamy, which the church forbade in 1890. At a campaign stop in Laconia, N.H., last month, Romney was speaking on the importance of his family when he said, "I love my wife and my five sons and their five wives."

Romney stopped, and smirking, added, "Wait a second. Let me clarify that. They each have one."

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