- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
Cain: Romney’s religion is a barrier to GOP nod
Question of the Day
Mr. Cain on Monday became the first of Mr. Romney’s nine declared and potential nomination rivals to say publicly and explicitly something long whispered: namely, that the former Massachusetts governor’s Mormonism is an obstacle too big to overcome in the most solidly Republican region in the country. The South has a high concentration of evangelical Protestants, many of whom doubt the legitimacy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I know the South, and you have to win the South. Mitt Romney did not win it when he ran against John McCain” in the 2008 primaries, said Mr. Cain. “The reason he will have a difficult time winning the South this time is because when he ran the first time, he did not do a good job of communicating his religion. It doesn’t bother me, but I know it is an issue with a lot of Southerners.”
Mr. Cain, a retired corporate executive who made a career out of rescuing dying companies, including the faltering Godfather’s pizza chain, argued that a Republican candidate needs to win Southern states.
“If you don’t win South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, you can’t win the nomination. And then you can’t win the presidency,” he said.
However, Mr. Romney is polling well in the South, according to the latest round of surveys.
A just-released American Research Group poll in South Carolina, one of the first four states on the official primary calendar, has Mr. Romney leading, with support from 25 percent of the sample of 600 likely Republican primary voters.
Mr. Cain is fourth in the poll at 10 percent, behind Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who has 13 percent. Mr. Cain and Mrs. Bachmann turn out relatively large numbers of tea party activists for their get-acquainted events. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin placed second with 16 percent, even though the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee has remained mum about whether she will run.
In 2008, Mr. Cain supported Mr. Romney, himself a hugely successful businessman with a “turn-it-around” reputation. Mr. Romney took over management of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics when it looked as if it would run out of money before it even got started.
“I like Mitt. I supported him in the last presidential election,” said Mr. Cain, who softened his often booming baritone voice almost to a whisper. “I don’t think he is going to be any stronger this time around against Barack Obama, even though Obama has a terrible record.”
The South is heavily populated with evangelicals, fundamentalists and other traditionalist-leaning Christians who widely consider Mr. Romney’s church not to be a Christian sect. They claim it either denies or unrecognizably redefines such Christian doctrines as the Trinity, original sin, the atonement, the continuity of the church and the canon of Scripture. Denouncing Mormonism is a staple of some Christian TV and radio programs and networks.
Mr. Cain, who has been polling in the high single digits among Republican voters in national polls, raised $2.6 million in the April-to-June reporting period, compared with $18 million raised by Mr. Romney.
But Mr. Cain said comparing the second-quarter sums isn’t important because he will raise enough, along with his “common-sense” appeal to rank-and-file voters, to win in the end, even if his fundraising is below the top two in the field.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
- Conservative convert Susana Martinez converts voters with her personal story
- The prison that dared to pray: Angola used faith, family to stem violence
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry draws rivals into political showdowns
- Cleveland chosen to host 2016 GOP convention
- Tennessee long shot Joe Carr is tea party's best hope
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, slams Obama's handling of Iraq
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- LYONS: Small-arms treaty, big Second Amendment threat
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq