I really don’t get why this news story exists at all except as a steath dig on Mitt Romney’s faith.
The headline reads “Romney Criticized for Mormon Faith in NH”, which suggest that voters there (or at least someone of marginal importance) had some substantive issue with Romney’s religious beliefs, right?
Well, not quite.
Here’s the story, nearly in its entirety:
DOVER, N.H. — Mitt Romney’s visit to New Hampshire started on a sour note Tuesday when a restaurant patron declared he would not vote for the Republican presidential contender because of his faith.
“I’m one person who will not vote for a Mormon,” Al Michaud of Dover shouted at Romney when the former Massachusetts governor approached him inside Harvey’s Bakery. Romney was kicking off the second of two day’s worth of campaign visits in the lead primary state.
Romney kept smiling as he asked, “Can I shake your hand anyway?”
Michaud replied, “No.”
Michaud later told reporters he was not “a right-winger,” alluding to some evangelical Christians who have compared Romney’s faith to a cult. Instead, Michaud stated he was “a liberal.”
He said he planned to vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., should she win the Democratic presidential nomination.
In other words, Romney approaches a liberal who never intended on voting for him in the first place because Romney’s not even remotely a liberal. Said liberal voter was churlish and right on the border of being a bigot with no problem being either quite loudly. Romney remained polite through the entire exchange, which is more than I would have done had someone shouted such a crude thing across a restaurant dining room.
So, basically, Romney wasn’t criticized for his faith at all because Mr. Churl Voter, Esq. didn’t actually offer a criticism. Additionally, the guy most likely wasn’t even a Republican, which makes him entirely inconsequential to the whole Republican primary, which is why Romney was even in New Hampshire.
For all the story gives us, the headline could just have read “Clinton Supporter Refuses to Shake Mormon’s Hand”. It would have been a lot closer to the facts of the story than the headline that’s there now. Except it wouldn’t have done much to water that little seed of religious unease the MSM’s been carefully tending about Romney for a few months now. There seems to be few other reasons for running this story as one of the two most important stories in the WaPo’s Religion section.