Monday Catch-up: Is Romney Really a Christian?
Policy + Politics

Monday Catch-up: Is Romney Really a Christian?

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Romney: The Mormon Question
The issue of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s religion (and also Jon Huntsman’s) has leapt to the fore again with the pastor of a Texas megachurch and Rick Perry supporter calling Mormonism a “cult.”

"Rick Perry's a Christian. He's an evangelical Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ," the pastor, Robert Jeffress, said at Friday's Values Voter Summit in Washington, where he introduced Perry. "Mitt Romney's a good moral person, but he's not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity."

On CNN’s State of the Union, Candy Crowley asked Herman Cain, who – like Perry and Huntsman – is a Romney rival for the Republican presidential nomination: “Is Mitt Romney a non-Christian?”

”I'm not running for theologian-in-chief,” Cain said. “I believe [religion] is a valid concern, but I don't think it necessarily should be a big campaign issue. What I believe people want to know, what are your guiding principles and what are your values?”

Later on the same program, Ron Brownstein of The National Journal said the issue of Romney’s faith has never gone away for GOP primary voters. “If you look at the results from 2008, he ran poorly among evangelical Christians, especially in the South. In all the Southern states, he never topped out above 20 percent of the vote among evangelical Christians, only 11 percent in the critical state, South Carolina,” Brownstein said. “And that matters. [Some] 45 percent of the total Republican primary voters are evangelical Christians.”

The ‘Mobs’ on Wall Street
On Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory asked Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., about the Occupy Wall Street protests. He noted that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., had called the protestors in New York, Boston, and Washington “mobs” and played a tape of Herman Cain saying: “Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself.”

“Is that the Republican message?” Gregory asked.

“Look, I don't disparage anybody who protests their government for better government, no matter what perspective they come from,” said Ryan. “…I think we're going to see a lot of it from now on through the 2012 election.”

“But is that the Republican message, what Herman Cain said?” asked Gregory.

“No, the Republican message is, the Republican message is we want to lower the barriers against Americans who want to rise. …On the class warfare, there are a few points I would simply make. Number one, the math just doesn't work. …It's not just taxing the movie star, the baseball player, the Wall Street person. You're taxing the engine of economic growth, small businesses. If you took all the income from every millionaire in America today, it would run the government for about four months,” Ryan said. “Second, I have a better idea. Instead of job-killing tax increases, why don't we just stop subsidizing wealthy people? I mean, let's go after the crony capitalism, the corporate welfare in the tax code, in spending. I think that's a better idea to get more savings in the budget, get our debt down without doing economic damage. And third, I think this rhetoric is divisive. I think it's troubling. Sowing class envy and social unrest is not what we do in America.”

“Do you think that's what the president's doing,” Gregory asked.

“I think the president is doing that,” said Ryan. “I think he's preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and anger, and that is not constructive to unifying America. I think he's broken his promise as a uniter, and now he's dividing people.”

The Bachmann Implosion
The candidacy of onetime hot ticket Michelle Bachmann has been faltering badly since Rick Perry got into the race for the Republican nomination and Herman Cain’s popularity has risen. Tuesday’ night’s GOP debate in New Hampshire could be crucial for her continued candidacy.

“Why has there been such a downfall in the national polls, as well as in the state polls for you?” Bachman was asked on State of the Union.

 “Well, your assessment is completely inaccurate. It is not true at all. We're just starting a kick-off today of four days here in New Hampshire…,” Bachmann said.

“Then let's take New Hampshire, [where] they just put out a poll. Your favorability there was 29 percent in July. It is now something like minus 18 percent,” said moderator Candy Crowley. “Do you feel that anything has gone wrong in your campaign? What accounts for the trajectory of these numbers?”
“As you have seen with many of the other candidates,” Bachmann said, “candidates go up, candidates go down.”

Obama’s Long Slog
“How much trouble is [President Obama] in for re-election with this economy?” David Gregory asked Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, on Meet the Press.

“Look, there's no doubt there's a challenge politically because the economy is not where the American middle-class family needs it to be for their bottom line,” Emanuel said. “…People have to feel in their lives some improvement and some opportunity of improvement for them and for their children.  That is what his focus has been on day one.  And if you don't understand and hear the frustration in people's voice, then…if you're in public life, you should get a different job.”