Birmingham, Alabama (CNN) - Hot in pursuit of southern voters before next week's Alabama and Mississippi primaries, Mitt Romney may have gotten more than he bargained for during an appearance on the syndicated "Rick and Bubba Show" Friday morning.
The hosts of the Birmingham-based radio program, Rick Burgess and Bill Bussey, pressed Romney on his Mormon faith, asking him if he believes the United States reigns over Israel as the true Judeo-Christian "Promised Land." The Book of Mormon teaches that America is a "land of promise."
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"Do you as a Mormon believe that America is the new 'Promised Land,' yes or no?" asked Burgess.
"You're gonna have to go to the church and ask what they think about that," Romney responded with a laugh, referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which Romney is a member.
"There's no question about the fact that Israel is the 'Promised Land.' That's what the Bible tells us. And my guess is that they're the lands of promise to other people," Romney added.
The former Massachusetts governor was also asked whether he would support a first strike against Iran in the event the Islamic Republic develops a nuclear weapon.
"Do you support a first strike against them, either by Israel or by us or a combination of the two to halt that process?" Bussey asked.
"Yes, and I think you actually have to act before they had a weapon, a deliverable weapon," Romney said.
"They have to understand that we will take military, kinetic action if they continue to pursue a nuclear option. That is unacceptable to us. That is unacceptable to Israel. It's unacceptable to the world," he added.
The program's hosts told Romney he's at a disadvantage in the South.
"The exit polls are showing that you're not connecting as well as I think you want to with the tea party conservatives and the evangelical Christians," Bussey said in his opening question to the former governor.
"I'm a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-gun candidate," Romney responded. "And my state of Massachusetts, unlike here in Alabama and Mississippi in the Deep South, is kind of a liberal state. I battled, if you will, in an away game."
Romney used that same sports analogy in a separate interview on a talk radio program Thursday, when he described next week's contests as "a bit of an away game."
During stops in Mississippi and Alabama, Romney has attempted to charm southern voters by adopting the occasional "y'all" and going as far as to tell one crowd he enjoyed "cheesy grits" for breakfast.