During the 2012 electoral season, the media’s handling of Mitt Romney’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints membership will certainly be interesting to observe. Equally intriguing will be the Democratic Party’s treatment of the Republican contender’s faith.
Despite Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-Fla.) pledge that religion will be off-limits during the presidential race, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” continued to explore how faith could come into play in the months leading up to November. Mediaite sets up the on-air discussion that unfolded this morning:
On Monday, Politico’s Mike Allen told Morning Joe about the Obama campaign’s plans to look into “Romney’s penchant for secrecy,” noting that the campaign’s communications director, David Axelrod, has asked such questions as “Why did George Bush and John McCain release multiple years of tax returns, but not Mitt Romney? Why did Mitt Romney leave Massachusetts government with the hard drives from his computers, and why did his senior aides leave with the hard drives from their computers? Why won’t he be more forthcoming about some of these offshore investments?”
Panelist Jon Meacham asked whether any of the focus on Romney’s “secrecy” may have something to do with his faith, Mormonism, a religion shrouded in mystery for many non-Mormons. “Is this code for the secrecy of the Mormon Church?” he asked Allen.
Allen continued, explaining how supporters may interpret the Obama campaign’s attempt to make Romney look odd or “different.”
“As the Obama campaign makes the case that Romney is somehow weird, different some supporters of Romney will say that that is a dog whistle, that is a way to come near the religion issue,” he explained. “The Obama campaign will tell you they’re not going to touch it, they don’t poll on it, they don’t talk about it in focus groups because they know that it would blow up if they did and that got public.”
Watch the dialogue unfold, below: