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. stephen

    this should be a preview of their administration...I'll tell you only what I want to tell you when I want to tell you and how I want to tell you. Pretty much in line with their buddy Newt who today said the president ought to ignore the Supreme Court and do whatever s/he wants.

    October 9, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  2. Monique

    Why does it matter whether Romney is a CHRISTIAN or not? I don't think that is a constitutional prerequisite. As long as he does not try to convert others to Mormonism, is tolerate of other religions and those who belong to none, does not want to occupy or make war on other countries whose religion he does not like, it does not matter. What does matter is separation of religion and State and that is not something we had during the Bush administration!

    October 9, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  3. Linda

    Now we know how Cain and Bachmann difficult questions. I don't like evasive answers. People, especially politicians, who give evasive answers, in my opinion, are trying to please all of the people all of the time so they'll be popular and/or get my vote. If the nomination means more to Cain and Bachmann that tackling difficult questions head on then I hope neither of them get the nomination.

    October 9, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. unretired05

    If it gets down to Romney and one other the "other" will claim a Mormon is the next thing to a Muslim.

    October 9, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  5. Bob F.

    Many of the posters here say that whether or not Romney is a Christian isn't an issue. Funny. It sure was an issue when there was a question whether Barack Obama was a Christian. If it was an issue for Obama, then it's an issue for Romney.

    October 9, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  6. Beryl Hughes

    @Nadeen: to get accurate information about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called Mormons, usually for brevity) go to
    There's nothing secret about the Gospel of Christ; all those guys riding on bikes and knocking on your door are very eager to tell you anything you want to know.

    October 9, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. Robrob

    Of course they ducked the question. They won't directly answer it because they want to protect their shot at the VP nomination on his ticket.

    October 9, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. Sanity

    A lot of liberals claim that Republicans only embrace fundamentalist religions while Democrats are more tolerant. Based on history, exactly the opposite is true. Since 1950 each party has had six Presidents. For the Democrats, the distribution is three Southern Baptists (Truman, Carter, and Clinton), one disciple of Christ (Johnson), one United Church of Christ (Obama) and one Roman Catholic (Kennedy). For Republicans the distribution is two Episcopalians (Ford and GHW Bush), two Presbyterians (Eisenhower and Reagan), one United Methodist (GW Bush), and one Quaker (Nixon). Clearly the Democrats embrace the more evangelical religions while Republicans embrace the more liberal and tolerant religions. Interesting, huh?

    October 9, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  9. Lenny Pincus

    Cain and Bachmann. Funny, they can't say Romney is Christian because a) it will rile their fundamentalist ding a ling's and b) they don't believe he is. Both of them believe the Bible doesn't include the Book of Mormon which is the basis of Mormonism. Personally I love the idea that Jesus lived in upstate New York for a while.

    October 9, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. Lenny Pincus

    I think it is important to recognize that right wing fundamentalists do believe that this and every election is a religious calling, that dominionists must be elected to replace the Constitution with the Bible.

    October 9, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. Colt

    I think the most valid comment is the actual name of the Mormon Church is the "Church of Jesus Crist of Latter day Saints" it would indicate they are Cristian

    October 9, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. conandoyle

    >Not sure why Liberals think this matters. It's a non-issue.<

    Not to confuse you with mere facts, but a CON, not any libs, made this'an issue'. Try to keep up. Or maybe, just try to read the article.

    October 9, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. popeye1128

    Things like this show how far this country has digressed.

    October 9, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  14. mojo

    Imagine if a group of Muslims say that they will only vote for a Muslim for POTUS. All the dogs of war would be upon them. Yet we have Christians Leaders, Pastors and even candidates swearing that they will never vote for someone other than Christian and for the most part the media dogs remain silent. Mr. Cain and Mr. Gingrich sure have opinions about Muslims and Islam, but they are suddenly ignorant about Mormons who have been living here all the time. You want to tell me that Mr. Cain don't know nothing about the history of the Mormons. It is an issue because it is the Republicans who keep bringing it up. They still Question Pres. Obama's religion. They even forced the man to turn away from his pastor from Chicago. THe Republicans should read a book or two about President Jefferson. Here was a man who acknowledged belief in God, but never Jesus as the son of God or God. Also like others mentioned.. the early Europeans came here to escape religious persecution, so that they could practice whatever they believe, something that the Republicans seems to want to change. Maybe they want to bring back slavery too. Better be careful Herm.

    October 9, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. Mike - Las Vegas

    Religions is only important to Rushpublicans when they can use it to bash President Obama. But if it's one of their own, you know, white male, then suddenly religion is off limits. The stunning hypocrisy of the unhinged right never ceases to amaze me.

    October 9, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  16. DanW

    Cain and Bachmann are cowards. The question is on the table. Answer it.

    Jeffress is a religious fanatic in a country that professes religious tolerance. He should be ignored, but instead here we have another circus. The people who take this guy seriously are marginal and should be ignored.

    October 9, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. F Daniel Gray

    Ms. Bachmann is not even being disingenuous when she says this is not a christian country, she is being hypocritical. I'll believe it when the president being "sworn" in wants to put a hand on the Torah, or the Koran, or no religious book at all, and no hue and cry erupts. Well actually, i won't be here. It's interesting to read that these "contenders" for president/commander in chief don't how to "recognize a "Christian." What would the answer be if the question was about "socialism?" After all that talk about what Sarah Palin didn't know or didn't read. We are worrying so much about jihad taking over this country, installing sharia law? The most popular event we watch is, apparently, the Super Bowl "game," where the 'entertainment takes longer than the official "game," being played.

    October 9, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  18. Ken845

    Cain answered the question when he stated "Mormonism vs. Christianity." Obviously he feels the two are at odds.

    October 9, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. dave

    Newt Gingrich commenting on religion. Absolutely hilarious.

    October 9, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  20. Kurt

    The economy may be the top issue, but none of these candidates have any impact on the economy as candidates. We have heard their ideas. We want to know who they are. What they represent. These questions are important. I'm not going to get into that is unacceptable. Not knowing what Mormonism is is unacceptable. There are probably hundreds of thousands of Mormons in this country and a competitor is one. Can one of these people please get a brief.

    October 9, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  21. Lee

    He prefers a competant christian? We have had one of those in many many years.

    October 9, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  22. glm

    I'm not going to comment on a pol's religious beliefs and I wish the corporate news media would offer discussion on the economy, a national budget if there is one, unemployment woes, etc.

    October 9, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  23. thomas

    All of them are spineless !
    When the soldier was booed at the last debate , they did nothing , SPINELESS POLITICIANS !

    I wont vote for Mitt Romney for the reason most of his people were in the GW, Bush administration. Also because none of his five sons did any military service.

    Because he is a Mormon has little to do with my vote , I'd vote for Mitts father , but not Mitt !!

    October 9, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  24. Tim

    Matt I agree. Although the problem I see with this whole question is that it is about nothing. What difference would it make if the candidate is Jewish or Catholic or Islamic? If the candidate has done a good job at being a rep. then they should get the vote end of story. So what this question has sadly done to everyone, including myself, is made us waste time and energy on something not important.

    October 9, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. Chuck

    Nobody thinks it's important to ask a potential president if he believes in magic underwear? I would want to know that.

    October 9, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
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