OCTOBER 22, 2007
Adam Nagourney makes a great point in his web column today:
Mr. Romney argued that his appearance at the Values Voters Summit was a victory because he eked out a small win in a straw poll there. But straw polls are given to easy manipulation by campaigns, and this one should be taken with more than a few grains of salt.
In truth, some Republicans said, Mr. Romney may look back at this weekend as a lost opportunity. Some of his advisers have been arguing that the best way for Mr. Romney to confront concerns about his authenticity would be to go to an audience like this and to have confronted their concerns about his Mormonism - to do, in effect, what Mr. Giuliani did. Instead, Mr. Romney addressed his Mormonism with a brief joke, and went on to use his speech to tell his audience precisely what they wanted to hear.
I agree. Voters are going to find out about Romney's Mormonism one way or another. He might as well get some courage and authenticity points by telling them about it to their faces, particularly those inclined to hold it against him. As Nagourney says, the values voters seemed inclined to cut Rudy some slack when he acknowledged disagreements but said he wanted to tell them what he believes rather than what he thought they wanted to hear.