COMMENTS: Savior of Mankind

All three networks sent a reporter to the George Bush Library in Texas' College Station to listen to Republican Romney's address on religion: "Surrounded by the full trappings of a Presidential library with a Presidential introduction Mitt Romney tried very much to look Presidential," was how ABC's John Berman saw it. NBC's Ron Allen isolated one phrase as fundamental: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind." Commented Allen: "Despite the soaring rhetoric and Presidential setting, Romney's speech was pure politics." His job was to persuade the "one in four GOP voters who say they will not vote for him because of his faith" to change their minds. "Romney used the word 'Mormon' only once and never once said 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' its official name."

CBS' Bill Whitaker called Romney's speech "heavy on America's history of religious tolerance but light on his Mormon beliefs." Whitaker likened it to John Kennedy's 1960 speech in which the Democratic Presidential nominee explained the role of his Roman Catholic faith to his non-coreligionists. NBC's analysis by Tim Russert, anchor of Meet the Press, took the opposite view: "What Kennedy did was deemphasize religion" whereas, for Russert, Romney's key soundbite was "freedom requires religion." Surely, Russert wondered, "people who are not part of an organized religion can also participate fully in American democracy?"


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