When Bob Jones III endorsed Mitt Romney’s candidacy, it was at first received as a great coup for Romney. Jones is a well-known evangelical leader in the heart of South Carolina, where Romney faces his toughest early primary, and has yet to convince a large number of Christian conservatives.
But the inevitable backlash quickly followed. In announcing his endorsement of Romney, Jones made the following statement:
“As a Christian, I am completely opposed to the doctrines of Mormonism. But I’m not voting for a preacher. I’m voting for a president. It boils down to who best can represent conservative American beliefs, not religious beliefs.”
Asked why he chose Romney, Jones’ somewhat impolitic answer was “What is the alternative, Hillary’s lack of religion or an erroneous religion?”
Indeed, these are backhanded compliments if ever there was such a thing- “he’ll make a fine president before he goes to Hell.” After the initial wave of positive coverage of this groundbreaking endorsement, the tide turned, and a spate of negative stories appeared, in which Mitt Romney became a weak-willed opportunist for accepting the endorsement of a man that denigrates Romney’s faith. The best example of the new trend is this piece from USA Today:
What bothers me are not the allegations of [Romney’s] shifting positions on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, but his acceptance of a political endorsement from someone who trashes his religion.
What else is he willing to compromise to become president?* Continue reading Bob Jones and Mitt Romney: Strange Bedfellows, or Natural Allies?