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Friday, February 23, 2007
posted by Justin Hart | 9:33 AM | permalink
National Religious Broadcasters Convention, February 18, 2007, Orlando
comments by Mark DeMoss

Mark DeMoss, Mitt RomneyLast September, after months of personal research, I sat in the office of a remarkable man. I was meeting, for the first time in person, a 59 year-old man who:
  • Has been married to the same woman, his fist wife, for 37 years
  • Is an amazingly successful businessman, with a long track record of making and managing money, hiring talented people, and solving complex problems
  • Restored integrity, order, and profit to an Olympic Games mired in a bribery scandal and heavy debt
  • Was elected governor of the most liberal state in the nation; and later elected by his 26 fellow Republican colleagues as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association
  • Defended the Biblical definition of marriage, marriage between a man and a woman, against great opposition
  • Objects to embryonic stem-cell research, even though his wife Ann has multiple sclerosis
  • Believes that life begins at conception and should be protected at all cost
Now, I think most of us in this room would say, “Wow! That’s just the kind of leader I’ve been looking for.” Well, this man, Gov. Mitt Romney, is also a Mormon—which is why I was sitting in his office that September afternoon.

You see, I had been hearing that evangelicals would not support a Mormon for president (even though we’ve worked closely with them for 30 years on a host of issues of importance to us); and that thinking bothered me.

After all, I would not want people to say, “I could never vote for an evangelical—those people are crazy.” I further thought that if one-third of evangelicals saw fit to vote for Bill Clinton—the second time—a Southern Baptist who doesn’t share my values, surely we could consider a Mormon who does share and practice these values.

So, as I think about our country and the next election, I have concluded two things:
  1. I care more that a candidate represents my values, than that he or she shares my faith or theology.
  2. I have an answer to the question, “Could I ever vote for a Mormon?” It depends on who the Mormon is! The question should not be “Could I vote for a Mormon,” but rather, “could I vote for this Mormon.” Or could I vote for that Southern Baptist, or this Methodist, or that Catholic?
After all, there are Mormons Mitt Romney would not vote for; and there are Southern Baptists I would not vote for.

I believe when evaluating a candidate for this important office, we should evaluate the whole of a person’s life—his experience, his behavior, his family, his intellect, his integrity, and his character.

That September day, in the Massachusetts Statehouse, I told Gov. Romney two things: I told him I wanted to help him; and I told him I wasn’t for hire. I was looking for a candidate, not a client.

A month later I was fortunate to spend a day in the governor’s home, getting to know him and his wife better; and I quickly developed a friendship and a conviction that this is a special man and a rare kind of leader.

So I have tried to introduce Gov. Romney, and his wonderful wife Ann, to fellow evangelicals ever since, and I’m honored that they have come to Orlando today to meet with us. I am convinced that if “values voters” are looking for a candidate with real values, you are about to meet the real thing.

So after Jay Sekulow, my co-host for this meeting today, shares a few additional comments, I am proud to join him in introducing my special friends,

Gov. and Mrs. Mitt Romney.

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