The Republican presidential candidates during Tuesday's debate distanced themselves from comments about Mormonism made by Texas pastor Robert Jeffress the same day that Jeffress defended his comments in a Washington Post opinion piece.
The pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Jeffress endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry during an Oct. 7 Values Voter Summit introduction, asking those in attendance, "Do we want a candidate who is a good moral person or one who is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ?" The line was seen as a comparison between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and Perry. After he spoke, Jeffress told reporters that Romney was "part of a cult," and that he would vote for him in a general election but could not in the primary.
During the debate, held in Las Vegas, CNN's Anderson Cooper quoted Jeffress' words and asked the candidates if voters should "pay attention to...
If Romney is elected, how will Evangelicals differentiate themselves from him and his Mormon religion? Obviously Evangelicals were able to differentiate themselves from JFK. Romney is a horse of a different colour, but in a sound bite world, a colour deceptively similar to Evangelicalism.