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God-O-Meter

A day after The Brody File reported Gov. Romney’s coup in signing up Bill Wichterman, a former Fred Thompson advisor known for his strong connections in the conservative Christian world, including at groups like Focus on the Family and The Family Research Council, God-o-Meter has learned that Wichterman will strongly encourage the former Massachusetts Governor to give a “Mormon speech.”
One Romney campaign aide said, “I agree with Bill and I think it will happen sooner rather than later.”
A second Romney advisor who is familiar with Wichterman’s thinking about Romney said Wichterman believes that “he has to address the Mormon question squarely.”
According to the advisor, Wichterman believes that “Romney can’t convince people that Mormonism is Okie Dokie, but rather that there ought not to be a religious test…. That there ought to be religious liberty.”
“Ultimately, this is going to be a Romney-Giuliani race,” the advisor continued. “A lot of people have some misgivings about a Mormon but if given a choice between a Mormon who’s right on the issues conservatives care about and a nominal Catholic who is not, that is not an insurmountable barrier.”
Romney spokesperson Kevin Madden denied that a so-called Mormon speech was in the works. “The governor has said previously that he has considered the question of whether or not to give a speech about his faith,” Madden said. “But he has not made a decision that he will give such a speech.”
Here’s Brody on the significance of Wichterman’s joining the Romney team:

This is a guy who has been big on the federal marriage amendment for years. When Bill Frist was trying to push the amendment through the Senate, it was Wichterman who was leading the charge by getting social conservative groups organized and mobilized. Expect him to be a big boost for the Romney campaign when it comes to the marriage issue. His depth of knowledge here is masterful.
It’s not just the marriage issue. By nabbing Wichterman, it’s a sign to inside and outside the beltway social conservative groups that Romney is serious in courting them. Wichterman is very well respected by these groups and he has close contacts at places like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, etc. When he was on the Hill, he was very active in the Senate’s “Value Action Team” meetings where dozens of groups would meet once a week to go over social policy and plot strategy.


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