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Democratic SuperPAC targets Romney via Web

A Democratic SuperPAC is targeting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with a new Internet campaign that raises questions about his economic agenda one year before the 2012 election.

Priorities USA Action, a group run by former aides to President Obama, said it was spending $100,000 to run advertising across websites such as Facebook, Google and YouTube as well as news websites.

A Web video released Wednesday by the group labels Mr. Romney as the Republican front-runner and outlines the policies it says the nation could expect if Mr. Romney won the White House next year.

The video opens with Republican strategist Karl Rove saying Mr. Obama will not be able to win re-election and includes clips of Mr. Romney saying “corporations are people” and the housing foreclosure process needs to “hit the bottom.”

Mitt Romney’s America is not our America,” the ad declares.

Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman, said that while the former Massachusetts governor was “focused on his jobs and economic plan, which will provide relief for the middle-class taxpayers, President Obama and his cronies are worried about their own jobs.”

Catholic scholars, diplomats seek religious tolerance

A group of prominent Catholic scholars and diplomats Wednesday called for commitment to religious tolerance in American politics and said the alternative is to risk a “major divisive political issue” in the future.

“We share the concern of many of our citizens of all religious faiths that allowing the question of a candidate’s religion to be subject to public ridicule is a grave digression from what we have accomplished in our forward movement as Americans since the establishment of our Republic,” read a statement signed by more than 30 Catholic lay leaders from across the country.

Thomas P. Melady, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, said Catholics are “particularly sensitive to the history of anti-Catholic bias” in the U.S., a problem that first surfaced in the presidential election of 1928, when Catholic candidate Al Smith faced discriminatory comments about his religion during his campaign.

Since then, Mr. Melady said, there has been a definite improvement in cases of “ridiculing a person’s church” in presidential campaigns, but “there is room … for intellectual discussion.”

The statement was prompted in part by recent comments made by Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, at the Values Voter Summit. Mr. Jeffress suggested that voters should prefer Christian candidates for office and referred to Mormonism as “a cult.”

“We … wish to cite our concern and our determination to assure that not only civility be maintained in the public discourse but that all inclinations to raise the issue of personal religious affiliation be avoided,” Mr. Melady said.

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