According to author and radio personality Hewitt, Mitt Romney-billionaire venture capitalist, consummate family man, gifted and media-savvy politician-would be unstoppable in the coming presidential race were it not for one niggling line on his resumé: he’s a Mormon. In this unashamedly partisan volume, Hewitt attempts to refute the claim that no Mormon could get elected President (along with any other claim that might be made against Romney) while analyzing the former Massachusetts governor’s biography and burnishing his conservative and leadership credentials. Hewitt is an agreeable, if inelegant, writer, wise enough to take detours (such as an edifying primer on Mormon history and thought) that stave off tedium. He spends far more time extolling Romney than excoriating his Republican and Democratic opponents. This is an efficient and effective exercise in political hagiography.
From the Inside Flap
In these crucial times for the country and the Republican Party, Mitt Romney stands among the front-runners.
Romney is a telegenic, intelligent, and charismatic man. He is a conservative who won the governorship in the Bluest of the Blue States. He is a family man with firm morals and not a spot of scandal on him. He is a successful businessman and a proven leader. He has a superb campaign infrastructure and immense fund-raising potential.
But Mitt Romney is a Mormon.
Will Romney’s religion keep him from becoming our next president?
Renowned radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt dives deep into Romney’s record, his strengths, his weaknesses–and of course the “Mormon Problem.” Hewitt provides an unprecedented window into the extraordinary life of this man who could be our
president–and into his devout faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hewitt’s provocative investigation reveals:
* The key weaknesses that make McCain, Giuliani, and Jeb Bush each unelectable–and that Mitt Romney doesn’t share
* How Romney battled against his state’s highest court and its overwhelmingly Democratic legislature on behalf of traditional marriage
· Romney’s rival McCain: how he squandered a once-in-a-generation chance to repair America’s badly broken judicial confirmation process
* Why the 2008 presidential campaign is in many respects unprecedented–and why not even Hillary has a free ride through the primaries
* Romney’s father: governor, presidential candidate, patriot, family man–plus the inside story of how his White House bid was sabotaged by the liberal media
* How Romney saved the Salt Lake City Olympic Games under the very real fear of another terrorist attack after 9/11
* Romney’s business success–and how it will shape him as a leader
* What Romney’s Mormonism means to him–and to the country
Insightful, informed, and full of new reporting and dozens of interviews with Romney himself, political heavyweights such as California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and religious leaders such as Chuck Colson and Archbishop Charles Chaput, A Mormon in the White House? is the book you need to understand the man who could be our next president.
Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, professor, and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the United States every weekday morning. An analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, he is the author a more than a dozen books. Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, and has taught Constitutional Law at Chapman University Law School since it opened in 1995. He is a partner with the Los Angeles law firm of Larson O’Brien LLP and writes daily at HughHewitt.com.
From The Washington Post
Mitt Romney’s reported haul of $21 million in the first three months of this year has cemented his place among the top tier of Republican presidential candidates, but are the GOP and the nation really ready for a Mormon nominee? A November 2006 Rasmussen poll indicated that as many as 43 percent of Americans said they wouldn’t even consider voting for a Mormon president, a hurdle Romney will have to clear if he hopes to survive primaries in places such as South Carolina, where anti-Mormon sentiment is strong.
With this book, the conservative pundit and talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt becomes the candidate’s de facto apologist-in-chief on matters of faith. Though not officially tied to Romney’s campaign, Hewitt seems enamored of the former governor known in Massachusetts as Matinee Mitt. If Americans could accept the Catholic John F. Kennedy as president in 1960 and the Jewish Joseph I. Lieberman as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 2000, Hewitt argues, why not Romney in 2008?
As a Mormon myself, I was curious to see how Hewitt — a non-Mormon who became intrigued with the faith after working on a 1996 PBS documentary — would approach my religion. Overall, I’d say he gives Mormonism a fair shake, although his reporting on church doctrine and history is incomplete. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ relative newness and obscurity leave many Americans suspicious about its central tenets, and Hewitt does little to dispel stereotypes. He also fails to thoroughly consider many of the specific points of pressure Romney could face as he runs the presidential gauntlet, such as racism from past Mormon leaders, and shies away from the more troublesome aspects of Mormon history, such as polygamy and the theocratic tendencies of the faith’s second leader, Brigham Young.
Despite these limitations, Hewitt is often astute about examining the “Mormon issue” from a range of angles, including a pointed warning that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) might resort to anti-Mormon bigotry if he became desperate. Hewitt also quotes an evangelical Protestant religion professor who claims that voting for a Mormon president “could be a sin.” Hewitt warns mainstream Christians that this sort of anti-Mormon rhetoric could backfire someday if one of their own seeks office and faces assaults from secularists. Nor does he target only Romney’s foes on the right; he quotes secular writers who’ve criticized the rationality of Romney’s faith and argues that such attacks are un-American.
The book is also replete with swipes at the national press corps. Indeed, Hewitt blames many of Romney’s problems on the “scribbling classes,” which Hewitt says hate Romney’s “traditional values” and envy his venture-capitalist wealth. Many journalists won’t buy that; political reporters will bristle further at Hewitt’s extraordinary suggestion that, now that he’s written the definitive work on Romney’s faith, any future questions about the candidate’s Mormonism amount to rehashed prejudice.
— Carrie Sheffield is a staff writer for the Politico.
Copyright 2007, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.