What happened
Moral Majority co-founder Paul Weyrich endorsed Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, giving the former Massachusetts governor a much-needed boost with religious conservatives. Romney, Fred Thompson, and other candidates are battling for support from Christian activists, who don’t like former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani because of his relatively liberal views on abortion, gun control, and other social issues.

What the commentators said
“This is a big one, folks,” said David Brody on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Web site. Weyrich is a “huge name in the social conservative movement.” Getting him “on board” vaults Romney forward by showing that he is “serious about moving a pro-family, traditional value agenda as President.”

There’s no doubt Weyrich’s “pedigree” means something to other conservatives, said Marc Ambinder in his blog at TheAtlantic.com. Weyrich’s endorsement imparts instant respect. Romney’s positions have “evolved,” and if Weyrich had stuck to “the strict standards pro-life activists generally hope to fill” he would have had to endorse Mike Huckabee. This could be a sign that Weyrich is “extremely nervous” about Giuliani, and sees Romney as the only candidate who can beat him.

This doesn’t end the religion problem for Romney, said Michael Scherer in Salon.com. Large congregations of evangelicals think a vote for Romney—who is a Mormon—is a vote for Satan, because they view his religion as a cult. Romney’s fate hinges on whether “evangelical voters choose to make the 2008 election about the future on earth or the future in eternity.”