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Romney campaign cries foul over attack on faith
An anti-Mormon mailer in Hillsborough is "sad and unfortunate," a spokeswoman says.
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published December 31, 2007
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Mormon faith has been a worrisome issue for the campaign.
The Mitt Romney presidential campaign is decrying an anti-Mormon mailer that has popped up in Hillsborough County.
"Help me sound the alarm that one day the Mormon Church plans to replace the Constitution with a Mormon theocracy. Mitt Romney's political success indicates this may be sooner than most have thought," reads part of the 11-page letter that reached a Plant City Romney supporter Saturday.
"Do you really want a president who believes he will someday become a god? Is that who you want occupying the most powerful position in the world . . . the United States presidency?"
The letter, also inviting people to buy anti-Mormon DVDs, was signed by John Boyd of Freedom Defense Advocates, which calls itself a Virginia-based political action committee. No record of such a group was found Sunday on the Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service Web sites.
Romney's Mormon faith has been an ongoing and worrisome issue for the campaign, despite the former Massachusetts governor's efforts to put it aside. He gave a high-profile speech this month touting religious tolerance and the role of faith in public life. The same day, Freedom Defense Advocates registered its Web site attacking Romney and Mormonism.
Romney's supporters have been apprehensive about this kind of attack.
"It is sad and unfortunate that this kind of deception and bigotry has been employed. There is absolutely no place for these types of attacks in American politics," Romney campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said Sunday. "Gov. Romney will continue to substantively address the issues most important to voters as he continues to campaign across the country."
Campbell said the campaign was unaware of Freedom Defense Advocates and had not heard of any more letters from the group surfacing in Florida or elsewhere. But the campaign assumes there were others.
Boyd did not respond to messages Sunday, but in a recent statement said, "Romney and the other high-level Temple Mormons clearly know that their goal is a Mormon one-world government run by the church elders under the leadership of their prophet."
In a separate incident this week, many South Carolina Republicans received a bogus Christmas card citing controversial passages from the Book of Mormon. The card was signed, "the Romney family" and said it was paid for by "The Boston Massachusetts Temple."
News researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Adam C. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727893-8241.