Romney Answered My Religion Question

Mitt Romney and Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

When former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000, he said he believed in God and would say no more about it than that. He said the rest was his business.

That's a good answer as far as I am concerned. That's why - when I interviewed former Governor Romney - I asked how much of his faith he felt obligated to share with voters.

I brought it up because polls show many Americans say they just won't vote for a Mormon. For a Mormon politician, that's not a religious problem, it's a political problem.

So when Romney said he was happy to be asked, I asked.

I found his answers interesting. He outlined how he saw the relationship of his religion to the duties of the presidency in much the way that John Kennedy explained his faith in that 1960 speech after people questioned his Catholicism.

Romney didn't go as far as Kennedy but I came away feeling I knew more about who he was and that helps to make a political, not a religious judgment.

Had he said his religion was none of my business, I would have taken that as a legitimate answer. In America, what we choose to tell others about our faith is nobody's business but our own.

Kennedy said he hoped no one would vote for or against him because he was Catholic. Romney said the same.

I think they got that part exactly right.

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By Bob Schieffer
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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.