More On Romney’s Secret Phone Calls November 20, 2007Posted by fitsnews in 2008 Presidential Primaries.
PUSH-POLLING MAY HAVE BEEN CAMPAIGN’S “PLAN B” TO ADDRESS MORMON ISSUE
FITSNews – November 20, 2007 – On his way to the narrowest presidential victory in American history, John F. Kennedy stopped by the Greater Houston Ministerial Alliance on September 12, 1960 to give a speech that forever changed his political destiny. Known as the “Catholic Speech,” it was the first time Kennedy substantively addressed his religion and the fear held by many that a Catholic President would, among other things, take orders from the pope. According to one of Kennedy’s biographers, the speech “knocked religion out of the campaign as an intellectually respectable issue.”
Forty-eight years later, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is facing a similar defining moment in his campaign to become the nation’s first Mormon president. For months, rumors have abounded that Romney would deliver a Kennedy-esque address to confront the “Mormon issue” head-on, but sources tell FITSNews that recent anti-Romney hate calls in New Hampshire represent the Romney campaign’s version of “Plan B.”
Our sources also say the mastermind of the sympathy-building effort is none other than Romney’s chief Southeastern strategist, Warren Tompkins.
To recap, last week hundreds of New Hampshire voters received phone calls that pointedly questioned Romney’s Mormon faith and sought to disparage the candidate for his religious views.
Romney blamed the attack on GOP rival John McCain, but it was later revealed that the company behind the calls is currently run by a friend of Romney’s and has several Romney contributors on its payroll.
Needless to say, the FITSNews’ mailbox has been blowing up with commentary concerning these revelations …
“(Romney) cannot give the Kennedy-style religion speech unless he wins the Republican nomination,” said a 2008 campaign operative who spoke with FITSNews on the condition of anonymity. “Mormonism is a whole different ballgame than Catholicism, meaning his ability to engage it proactively with GOP primary voters is somewhat limited. Simulating an attack on his faith in an effort to build sympathy is one of the few tools available to him, which (Warren) Tompkins instinctively understands.”
But why New Hampshire? Why not Iowa or South Carolina, the early primary state where Tompkins is directly responsible for managing the campaign’s message?
“There is a good reason this happened in New Hampshire,” our source explained. “Romney already has a high level of support there, which means that any attack against him has a built-in defense mechanism. New Hampshire voters are much more likely to be tolerant of his faith than are South Carolina voters. The point is that Romney has insulation in New Hampshire that he does not have in South Carolina.”
Tompkins has already been busted for political stealth attacks this campaign cycle, but would he really turn the gun on his own candidate?
“Certainly he would, provided the benefits outweigh the costs,” our source said. “If you remember the Monty Python expression – ‘It’s only a flesh wound’ – that is precisely what an attack like this represents. Minimal short-term damage with a tangible long-term benefit.”
Stay tuned …