Will Mitt Romney Say The ‘M’ Word (Mormon) In Tampa?

Aug 30, 2012 5:47pm

ABC News’ Michael Falcone, Emily Friedman and Kaye Foley report:

TAMPA, Fla. – Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech tonight at the Republican National Convention may mark one of the only times all year he’s publicly said the word “Mormon.”

Or, it may not.

A top campaign adviser would not say whether the word “Mormon” would make an appearance in the Republican nominee’s speech instead of the more general references to his “faith” and his “church” he prefers to use on the campaign trail and in interviews.

When asked whether the speakers slated to offer testimonials to Romney’s faith would say the word on stage tonight, the adviser told ABC News, “I can’t believe it won’t be uttered in the faith section,” but declined to offer specifics.

Romney has gone through almost the entire campaign cycle without using the word “Mormon.”

When asked in an April 2012 interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer whether he was reluctant to talk about his faith, Romney responded:  ”I don’t think there’s anyone particularly in the Republican primaries that doesn’t know that I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon church and happy to talk about my experiences– working as– if you will, a pastor.”

Romney hasn’t gone much further than that all year. During the last election cycle, however, Romney gave an entire speech on his faith in December 2007.

Nevertheless, in an October 2011 Pew Research Center-Washington Post poll the word respondents most often associated with Romney was “Mormon.” That has since changed.

Issues of faith have been stitched into the fabric of this week’s convention. Several speakers have spoken religion, and the most high-profile one to use the word “Mormon” was Ann Romney.

“I was an Episcopalian, he was a Mormon,” she said. “We were very young, both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage and you know what? We just didn’t care.”

But another speaker, Mike Huckabee, made an oblique reference to the unease some non-Mormons feel about a religion that has been wrongly labeled a “cult” by some.

“I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country,” Huckabee said, adding later: “Mitt Romney has given over 16% of his income to his church and charity, and I’d feel better about having a leader who gives more of his own money instead of mine.”

Another convention speaker, Mia Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah and a Congressional candidate who also happens to be a Mormon, did not reference her faith by name once in her speech.

This is not to say that Romney is not asked about his religion frequently on the campaign trail. Notably, one of the most interesting exchanges he’s had on the topic was during a town hall in April in Wisconsin with Paul Ryan, when a man in the audience started reading from the Book of Mormon.

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