In coup for Mitt Romney, who’s still working overtime to pick up Christian Right support after a year of trying, Bob Jones III announced yesterday that he’s endorsing the former Massachusetts governor. The chancellor of the fundamentalist Bob Jones University is more culturally and theologically conservative than many Christian Right bigwigs, with George W. Bush’s 2000 speech at the school causing an uproar over BJU’s ban on interracial dating (which has since been ended) and negative statements its leaders have made about Catholicism. God-o-Meter’s bottom line: the Jones endorsement provides the kind of far-right support that will make it easier for more mainstream evangelical leaders to accept Romney.
The Romney campaign couldn’t have crafted a better press statement than the one Jones gave, with its wholesale rejection of Romney’s Mormonism even as it embraces his politics. Here’s what he said, according to the Associated Press:

“As a Christian I am completely opposed to the doctrines of Mormonism,” Jones told [a Greenville] newspaper. “But I’m not voting for a preacher. I’m voting for a president. It boils down to who can best represent conservative American beliefs, not religious beliefs.”


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