So reported the Boston Globe yesterday. Some choice bits:
Governor Mitt Romney is convening meetings with small groups of evangelical leaders to seek guidance for his possible presidential run, as Romney and Mormon supporters intensify efforts to allay concerns about his faith.
Romney, who is ramping up preparations for a 2008 campaign, huddled privately at his Belmont home last Thursday with about a dozen evangelicals, including conservative activist Gary Bauer, president of the group American Values, and Richard Land, a prominent leader in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Two weeks earlier, Romney met with about a dozen Baptist pastors at a private club in Columbia, S.C. Today, he is set to meet with more Christian leaders at an activist’s home in Greenville, S.C.
The meetings have touched on several themes, participants say, but two topics being discussed are Romney’s religious beliefs and how he should address his faith as the campaign progresses.
The paranoid tone–”Our nasty governor is talking to those people!”–is amusing. More:
At last week’s meeting at Romney’s home, Land said, he told the governor that voters want “a commander in chief, not a theologian in chief.” Land said he encouraged the governor to do what John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, did in 1960: Give a major speech that confronts head on the lingering prejudices against his religion.
“I told him I thought most Americans believed in fair play, and you have the opportunity to take the poison out of this issue the same way that Senator Kennedy did,” said Land, who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the denomination’s public policy arm. “I think he needs to address the issue sooner rather than later. I just encouraged him to do it forthrightly and honestly and say, ‘Look, this is my faith, and we don’t have a religious test for office, and here’s how my faith informs my values system.’”
The story mentioned RunMittRun.org but not EFM–which is just fine with us!
The Globe also offered something of a history of the governor’s past statements regarding his faith.