The Texas pastor who introduced Gov. Rick Perry at Friday's Values Voters Summit in Washington told reporters that he does not believe that former Massachusetts Mitt Romney is a Christian, and called Romney's Mormon faith a "cult."My gut-level tells me that Romney does not have this nomination in the bag. Perry could easily win Iowa, then turn around and win South Carolina, with Romney winning New Hampshire, and then it becomes a race to the finish line with each taking some primaries. Both campaigns should have plenty of money. The heartland of the Republican Party is in the Old South, and that would seem to be Perry territory. Frankly, Romney is just not personally liked by many in the Republican Establishment, and that could make a difference down the stretch. And even though Perry has had some unfortunate debates, the pressure should be off him by now (with much more focus on Romney and Cain), and so he'll probably do better (though I don't think that will ever be his forte).
Perry's campaign quickly distanced itself from the words of the pastor. The Texas governor, according to campaign spokesman Mark Miner, does not believe Mormonism is a cult.
"The governor doesn't get into the business of judging other peoples hearts or souls. He leaves that to God," Miner said in an email. "The governor's campaign is about uniting Americans of all backgrounds behind a pro-growth, jobs agenda for this country."
Herman Cain is attracting a following recently, but I still believe that can't be sustained, because of his lack of political experience, his obvious ignorance on many issues, and the fact that there are very few blacks in the Republican Party (and race still plays a big, albeit unspoken, role in that party).
It sounds like we have the makings of a party that is fundamentally divided in two. The Religious Right who are fundamentally skeptical about a Mormon, Massachusetts Yankee, versus business-oriented men or suburban soccer-moms who are really turned off by a gun-toting, swaggering cowboy Texan.
This could be interesting. Could we have the makings of such a stalemate that a dark horse candidates might be brought in at the end to try and unite things (someone like Jeb Bush)?