romney15.jpgAfter a year of campaigning to be the Christian Right’s candidate of choice, God-o-Meter was surprised to read this morning that Mitt Romney is calling Huckabee out on his evangelical strategy in Iowa and is publicly doubting the plan’s ability to work elsewhere. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Romney, who has worked to overcome fears about voters backing him as a Mormon, took only a fifth of evangelical voters who turned out to caucus in the first test of the presidential race [the Iowa caucuses]. Republican rival Mike Huckabee, a Baptist-preacher-turned-politician, took nearly half of that category of voters, according to entrance polls….
“Mike had a terrific base as a minister – drew on that base, got a great deal of support, it was a wonderful strategy that he pursued effectively,” Romney told reporters Friday in New Hampshire where he was fighting for a victory in that state’s first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday.
Romney said he came into Iowa an unknown governor of Massachusetts, the “bluest of the blue states,” and campaigned hard to educate voters about what he stands for. But that, apparently, wasn’t enough as Huckabee trounced Romney 34 percent to 25 percent.
“Had I been a Baptist minister, I perhaps could have chosen a different path, but that wasn’t the path that’s available to me,” Romney said. “He took one that was available to him, worked it extremely well, turned out people extremely well and I congratulate him on a well-run campaign.”
But Romney added, “I don’t think that’s going to work in every state.”

God-o-Meter wonders whether this means that the man who has ardently courted the likes of Focus on the Family’s James Dobson will now shift gears to focus on wooing more establishment Republicans. After all, should Romney win in New Hampshire on Tuesday, it will be thanks to small government economic conservatives, not religious conservatives.
And for all Romney’s wooing of evangelicals–even in his so-called “Mormon speech” last Romney made a point of saying he believed Jesus Christ was the savior of mankind–Romney’s Iowa support base turned out to be less religious Republican moderates. God-o-Meter’s got to believe that all of this is rubbing off on Team Romney’s strategy moving forward, possibly inspiring a shift away from the values crowd.
[Note to readers: God-o-Meter accidentally raised Mitt Romney’s reading to 10 after the Iowa caucuses. It should have remained at 8.]


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