Bachmann, Cain duck question on Romney's faith
October 9th, 2011
10:16 AM ET
10 years ago

Bachmann, Cain duck question on Romney's faith

(CNN) - Neither Herman Cain nor Rep. Michele Bachmann would say Sunday whether they believe Mitt Romney is a Christian, two days after an influential pastor labeled Mormonism a "cult."

"He's a Mormon," Cain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "That much I know. I am not going to do an analysis of Mormonism versus Christianity for the sake of answering that. I'm not getting into that."

Bachmann echoed Cain's remarks, saying she didn't want to get into an issue she considers unimportant to the Republican presidential campaign.

"This is so inconsequential as far as this campaign is concerned," the Minnesota congresswoman said. "We have religious tolerance in this country and we understand that people have different views on their faith and I have a very sincerely held believe on faith and I think we just leave it at that."

When pressed by CNN's Candy Crowley on whether or not Romney is a Christian, neither candidate gave a firm answer - even when it was suggested they were dodging the question.

"If that's what it looks like, that I'm dodging it, it's because it is not going to help us boost this economy," Cain said. "You know that's my number one priority."

"I think what the real focus again is on religious tolerance," Bachmann said. "That's really what this is about. Again to make this a big issue is just ridiculous right now because every day I'm on the street talking to people, and this is not what people are talking about. I was very open about my faith, very clear about my faith. It's very important."

On Friday, the pastor of the highly-influential First Baptist Church of Dallas told CNN that his church had labeled Mormonism a "cult," and that Republicans shouldn't vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Romney because he is a follower of that faith.

"I think Mitt Romney's a good, moral man, but those of us who are born again followers of Christ should prefer a competent Christian," Robert Jeffress said outside of the Values Voter Summit in Washington. The First Baptist Church of Dallas has a congregation of about 10,000 and has long been considered a highly influential church in evangelical circles.

Romney's campaign said Friday they would not make any comment on the pastor's remarks.

On the CBS program "Face the Nation," fellow Republican candidate Newt Gingrich made similarly vague remarks about whether he believes Mitt Romney was a Christian.

"I think he's a Mormon and Mormon define themselves as a branch of Christianity," Gingrich said.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (292 Responses)
  1. keith A. sillsbury

    Their all low lifes just as all religions are so why does it matter

    October 10, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  2. keith A. sillsbury

    Most people take it that the constitution claims Freedom OF religion BUT in actuality it proclaims a FREEDOM FROM religion. You have to remember that at the time, people were being persecuted for not being religious or the wrong religion. Five of our founding fathers were open atheist and several of our Presidents.

    October 10, 2011 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  3. corncop

    Can't say much for Cain, he is the Republican version of the invisible man. Just there for show. As for Bachman, well she has a big mouth. Why not throw her two cents in on it? She says her religion is closely held, but she is more than willing to shove it down everyone else's throats when it comes to abortion rights! Running away again! Well just her thing. There is no substance behind the pretty face. The second coming of Palin! Maybe the Republicans will make this another easy ballot with a rerun of Cain/ Palin (Bachman). Are there any Republicans out there who actually reflect the needs and will of the American people?

    October 10, 2011 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  4. TampaMel

    When I was a kid and John Kennedy was running for President some people said since he a Catholic if he became president he would take his orders from the Pope. That the US would be run from the Vatican. If this sounds absurd to you think of how absurd this discussion about Romney and Mormonism sounds. We all want a separation of church and state when it suits us but it is amazing how that separation does not occur when we vote for a President. I am not a Mormon but I say the Mormon church as been a mainstream religion for so long how could anyone in their right mind view it as anything other than another Christian church. This discussion, fostered by the media to sell more advertising, is just another view of the bigots that lurk in dark corners calling themselves American.

    October 10, 2011 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  5. chaz8181

    The article shows how uneducated and ignorant our politicians are. Surely, if they had the education to take on the awesome responsibility of President of the Unitied States, they would know what Mormonism is and not have to ask stupid questions . This shows how dangerous it is or would be to elect these ignorant people to a country, OUR country where we need a leader , a real leader who understands and is educated enough to deal with various religious groups as well as an understanding of religions and philosophy and history as well , amongst many other subject. WOE IS US IF WE ELECT DUMB PEOPLE LIKE THESE.

    October 10, 2011 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  6. Wildone

    The only god that the GOP truly believes in is mammon.

    October 10, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  7. Common Sense

    Why is it that only right-wingers care about this? I could not possibly care less what a candidate's religious beliefs are and anyone who does is a shallow and petty intellectual midget, kind of like most of the current field of Republican candidates, you might say.

    October 10, 2011 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  8. Beth

    Bachman saying she doesn't have to answer because she believes in religious tolerance is the FUNNIEST thing I've heard in a long time. Thanks for the laugh, CNN.

    October 10, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  9. William Johnsen

    I will be voting for Obama. But Cain's answer is not a duck. He spoke common sense to a question probably intended to ensnare him or produce the headline "Cain ducks question."

    October 10, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  10. wvthinker

    You religion or irreligion has much to contribute to every other aspect of your political idealogy. To ask them to leave such a significant part of their identity at home is not only unhelpful but also impossible. No body can be told to leave their views of the universe at home... it doesn't make sense. It's a worthwhile question with interest to voters seeking to make an informed decision. It's not religious intolerance, unless you are committing a crime against the Mormon or restricting freedom to believe and practice Mormonism.

    October 10, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  11. Travis

    It would have been nice for the Republican candidates to express their unwillingness to turn a non-issue into a big deal when Obama's birth certificate was so important.

    October 10, 2011 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  12. Elphaba

    Typical. They're dodging now, but in every Evangelical Christian, and in every Far Right Christian politician, as Cain and Bachmann are, part of their agenda is to pass laws that adhere to the Christian Faith. In other words, they want to make the U.S. into a Christian Nation, or Theocratic Nation, much the same as Iran is a theocratic nation. Different religion; same result both dangerous.

    October 10, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  13. Whammybar

    Again, religion has no place in politics or the running of this country, period!

    October 10, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  14. NJBob

    I wish ALL politicians would shut up about religion. Ever notice how there's a direct relationship between a candidate's religiosity and their ignorance? Hyper-religiosity gives rise to hyper-buffoonery. If we could just drop the religious mythology, maybe we could attract some decent, competent candidates.

    October 10, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  15. See?

    Hey look, a religious themed article is in the Politics category!

    October 10, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  16. DrJStrangepork

    Why get a response from Bachmann? Is she still important to the race?

    October 10, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  17. Florida Joe

    What else would you expect from these 2....A straight answer..........NOPE typical Repub run, hide, avoid the question or lie!!!
    Not necessarily in that order..........Pathetic

    October 10, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  18. mattski

    Cain has said he would not have a Muslim in his cabinet because Muslims put their God's law above Country. He has said he would not have a Catholic in his cabinet because Catholics loyalty is to the Pope first. But now when it's politically convenient, he's "dodging it...because it is not going to help us boost this economy...You know that's my number one priority."

    October 10, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  19. MarineDad05

    Mr. Cain,

    Are these Mormons 'brain-washed'?

    Just wanted to make sure.

    October 10, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  20. RinMaine

    They cannot comment on Mormons, there is not enough hatred there. They are all incompetent.

    October 10, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  21. JJC

    By definition I guess, it could be a cult. But, could not Christainty also be considered a cult as well. The only thing that diffentiates a cult from a non-cult organization is if the "majority" thinks it is not a correct belief. I dont know how many people don't think Mormonism is "right", but I dont think same-sex marrage is right, and noone is on here calling that a cult....hmmmmmm.

    October 10, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  22. Willie12345

    What is the real motivation behind the good Pastor's remarks ? Does he say things about the Catholics or Methodists? What about the Hindu ? All these cults also ?

    October 10, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  23. John Stefanyszyn

    ....dodging the question?
    ...."Christ" is inconsequential?

    Each claims themselves to be a "Christian" but none stand to confess that Christ is the ONLY WAY of Life, that Christ is the Son of the ONE and ONLY CREATOR GOD.

    ...but they all embrace a belief that says that Christ is a religion among religions, that there is NO One True God, that Christ is not the ONLY WAY.

    As Christ said, those that deny Him ...He will deny in God's kingdom.

    His return is imminent, and man will reject Christ for their first love in the glory of man's self-rights.

    There is One Truth, and man has been warned to change...for there will be the weeping of tears and the gnashing of teeth.

    October 10, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  24. Jon

    I know the media would LOVE to make this an issue because then they could point at the right wing and say "look how intolerant they are". The truth is, the right wing is very tolerant and we could care less if the guy is a Mormon or a Buddhist. The only intolerant ones who geniunely care about this are the media and a few people on the fringe.

    October 10, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  25. Paul

    When I hear the GOP candidates debate such trivial matters, I think of the Frank Sinatra song – "Send in the clowns." It's funny to witness the GOP self-implode due to their wacky religious conservative element.

    October 10, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
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