Sen. McCain and his mother, Roberta, prepare for their interview with Chris Matthews from a New Hampshire hotel room.
(CNN) - The mother of Sen. John McCain criticized the religion of one of her son’s competitors for the Republican presidential nomination Friday night.
When asked about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s experience by Hardball host Chris Matthews, Roberta McCain, who’s campaigning in New Hampshire with her son at the age of 95, said "as far as the Salt Lake City thing, he's a Mormon and the Mormons of Salt Lake City had caused that scandal. And to clean that up, it's not a subject."
Romney was selected to head up the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games after a bribery scandal tarnished the Games.
Sen. McCain, who was seated next to her, raised his eyebrows and flashed a polite grin during her comments.
"The views of my mother are not necessarily the views of mine," McCain chimed in.
“Well, that’s my view. You asked me,” Mrs. McCain followed.
After a commercial break, Sen. McCain further tried to distance himself from his mother’s comments.
“Could I just reemphasize one point? I think Mormons are great people. I think it should in no way be a factor in consideration or lack of consideration for Governor Romney,” he said. “I think it should never be a consideration and I know he will be judged on his record. He’s a fine and decent man and a family man.”
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- CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman