MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Monday his upcoming speech about religion is not "a JFK speech" to ease concerns about his Mormon faith, but called the subject an important one in the campaign.
"I've long anticipated that at some point, I'd be talking about the role of religion in a free society," the former Massachusetts governor told reporters. "That's what I'll be talking about."
Romney's campaign announced Sunday that he would give a speech on "Faith in America" on Thursday at former President George H. W. Bush's presidential library in College Station, Texas. Though the topic evokes the 1960 speech to Southern Baptist leaders given by John F. Kennedy, who became the first Roman Catholic president, Romney said that's not what he has in mind.
"I'm not going to be giving a JFK speech," Romney said. "He gave the definitive speech on discrimination relating to a political campaign, and what he said makes sense to me. I'm going to be talking about the role of religion and faith in America, in a free society."
However, he added, "I certainly will answer some questions related to how my own faith will inform my presidency."
- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King contributed to this report