(CNN) – He’ll pass on “pastor in chief,” but Mitt Romney may just fit a different bill: prankster in chief.
The GOP presidential contender talked about his faith and penchant for pranks in a Saturday television interview conducted after his commencement address at an evangelical university.
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Romney, who is Mormon, did not address his own faith in the speech, but sought to draw connections between his beliefs and those held by Liberty University, which calls itself the largest evangelical Christian university in the world.
Echoing remarks of Liberty’s chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr., Romney told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the presidential selection process involves “finding people who share our values and our views, and work for a person who can become our commander in chief, but perhaps not our pastor in chief.”
Asked to identify “one of the biggest misconceptions about your Mormon faith,” Romney instead kept very close to the remarks he delivered to the 6,000 graduates at the Virginia university.
“I know that there are very significant differences in creeds and theologies between religions, and certainly between my faith and the faith of people here at Liberty University,” Romney said. “And yet, we find common ground, and common purpose in service, in values that we share.”
The address came after a Thursday report that he and others had teased, taunted, or even bullied a peer – with possible homophobic undertones - at the all-boys prep school he attended in the 1960s. Romney said he did not remember the incidents described in a Washington Post report and apologized if anyone had been hurt if the incident had taken place.
Earlier this month, his wife, Ann, described a “wild and crazy man” inside of her husband, who is sometimes described as stiff.
In the Saturday interview, Romney described one such prank he pulled on a state trooper who had short-sheeted the then-Massachusetts governor’s hotel room bed.
“And the next morning when I came down to breakfast, he of course had a big smile, because he was going to see how I reacted,” Romney said. “I pretended not to notice.”
The candidate describes having a letter typed on hotel stationery, “saying we are so sorry that your bed was improperly made, Mr. Romney, and we have fired the maid who did it.”
A staffer showed the letter to the trooper, Romney said, whose boss insisted the trooper call the hotel to explain the maid’s innocence.
“He got on the phone all red-faced, and then finally, of course when the manager had no idea what he was talking about, he realized the joke was on him,” Romney recounted. “So, we play tricks even with the people I work with."
Excerpts of the interview were posted online Saturday evening. Other clips show Romney reiterating his support for “traditional marriage” and “the sanctity of life,” as well as describing a time when he and one of his sons on jet skis ferried to shore a family whose boat had capsized near his lake house.
- CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report