HH: Now the other outsider in this race, Governor Romney, is also getting some Evangelical blowback, because he’s a Mormon. What do you make of that issue?
RG: I think that the Governor’s religion is not an issue in any way in the campaign, and any more than John Kennedy as being a Catholic was an issue, or Senator Lieberman as being Jewish when we ran for vice president. I mean, these things…I think we’re way beyond that, and I don’t think it’ll be an issue. I mean, obviously, by an issue, people will comment on it, but I think the American people have gone way beyond that, and they’re willing…what they want to do is look at the person, and what kind of…how have you performed in public office, what have you done, have you acted as a fair, impartial person in dealing with people of all different religions or whatever. And if that’s the case, those are the issues, not is what is someone’s religion, but how have they acted.
The big debate is finally here: Will Mitt Romney‘s Mormonism kill him in the mainstream Christian-voting gop presidential primaries? We think we’ve got a source who knows: conservative pundit and radio host Hugh Hewitt. “He, and the country, definitely have a ‘Mormon problem,'” Hewitt tells us, “but not an insurmountable one.” In a new book out in mid-March, Hewitt takes an in-depth look at Romney’s life. And for Regnery Publishing’s A Mormon in the White House? 10 Things Every American Should Know About Mitt Romney, Hewitt even quizzed the former Massachusetts guv. His conclusion: “I don’t even think it will be the biggest obstacle in his path to the Republican nomination.” He did find a major hurdle, he teases, “though I will wait until publication in early March to discuss that.”
Mitt Romney, the former Bay State guv now running third in the gop presidential sweepstakes, doesn’t use a BlackBerry or even carry a cellphone. But that’s not to say he’s not a techie geek. In fact, he’s proving to be just the kind of wonk that would make Microsoft’s Bill Gates giddy at an issues lunch. Here’s the deal: Romney is the first-ever presidential candidate to haul out a PowerPoint presentation at campaign events. He did it recently while addressing the Detroit Economic Club, and the audience went nuts for it. “It was amazing,” an auto exec tells us. “I mean he didn’t just make claims. He had the graphs to back him up!”
The idea was the candidate’s and was a textbook presentation outlined in classic fashion: It opened with the “Intro,” wrapped up under the title “Close,” and finished with an “End” on Page 21. In between were graphs that Romney tried to soften with descriptions of lines like “squiggle.” PowerPoints, says spokesman Kevin Madden, “speak to the competency that [Romney] exudes and the authoritative nature of his understanding of the issues.” Plus, he says, the boss just digs them–and is a great presenter. “He’s the PowerPoint president. Very few people could pull this off and not look wonkish.” And the Mitt-tech doesn’t end there: He’s started Mitt tv and raises cash on ComMitt, a computer fundraising program.