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Will 'playing the God card' work for Romney?
In what some consider a shark-jumping moment, Mitt Romney suggests that President Obama wants to erase "In God We Trust" from our coins
 
Appearing with televangelist Pat Robertson in the key swing state of Virginia on Sept. 8, Mitt Romney thrust God into the center of the presidential race.
Appearing with televangelist Pat Robertson in the key swing state of Virginia on Sept. 8, Mitt Romney thrust God into the center of the presidential race.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

"Mitt Romney went there," says Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo. Lacking any measurable momentum from his Republican convention and facing a new flurry of punditry giving President Obama "higher odds of winning re-election," Romney campaigned at an old airplane hangar in Virginia on Saturday, accompanied on stage by televangelist Pat Robertson, and played "the God card." After leading the pledge of allegiance, Romney brought up the Dems' convention-floor fight to re-insert "God" in their platform and suggested that Obama would strike the words "In God We Trust" from U.S. currency: "That pledge says 'under God.' I will not take God out of our platform. I will not take God off our coins. And I will not take God out of my heart." Team Obama called the implied attack desperate, divisive, and "absurd," with spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki quipping that Obama "believes as much that God should be taken off a coin as he does that aliens will attack Florida." Is injecting God into the campaign so prominently a good move for Romney?

Romney just jumped the shark: So "the guy who claims he doesn't want to talk about anything but the economy is going to campaign on this God business," says Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog. If this new attack doesn't shift the polls in the next couple of weeks, Romney will drop it, but if this tinfoil-hat nonsense about coins — gleaned from a right-wing e-mail chain letter based on an abandoned coin redesign from 2005 — actually works, Romney's "entire campaign" will be about the Dems' brief omission of God from their platform. Ugh.
"Is Mitt now getting his talking points from right-wing e-mail forwards?"

God is a good campaign theme for Romney: "The Democratic Party's obsessive secularism" makes God-based appeals a ripe avenue for Romney, says Tim Stanley in Britain's The Telegraph. America, after all, is temperamentally conservative and overwhelmingly religious: "According to Gallup, 92 percent of Americans trust in the Almighty and roughly 43 percent regularly attend a place of worship." And even in his party, Obama is particularly vulnerable to this line of attack, since only a third of the country correctly identifies him as a Christian.
"Americans make natural conservatives..."

Beware the God card: Yes, and 17 percent of Americans say Obama is a Muslim — which is not only wrong but disingenuous, since Muslims believe in God, says Sally Quinn at The Washington Post. But "religion is tricky these days." Moderates in both parties usually try to avoid obviously "playing the religion card" because it often smacks of pandering, but "on the other hand, leave God out of the conversation at your peril." So for Obama, "politically it was a no-brainer to restore the old God language." But it's morally wrong on both sides' parts to shove God down the throat of the 15 percent who don't believe.
"Playing the religion card"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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