- (Reuters/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's top evangelical adviser suggested Monday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry supported the anti-Mormonism message sent out by his supporter, Baptist minister Robert Jeffress.
Huffington Post journalist Jon Ward reported on a conversation with Mark DeMoss, founder of an Atlanta-based public relations agency "exclusively serving Christian leaders, organizations and causes," The DeMoss Group. DeMoss is Romney's political adviser.
He reportedly referred to controversial remarks made by Jeffress, who publicly stated - and repeated on several occasions - that Mormonism is a cult and that evangelical Christians should not vote for Romney because, being a Mormon, he is not a true Christian.
DeMoss suggested that Perry's campaign did not do anything to stop the Dallas pastor from spreading his anti-Mormon message on purpose, in order to harm Romney's campaign.
"I would have bet money when Robert Jeffress surfaced there in Washington and then started going on TV programs that somebody would have gotten him to stop doing interviews. And he did them for a couple days," DeMoss told The Huffington Post. "That's what made me question it whether they wanted him doing it or not. If they didn't want him doing it, I think they could have stopped him from doing it."
Jeffress is known to be a Perry supporter. In fact, he introduced the Texas governor on stage during a Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 7. It was after that introduction that the pastor made his controversial statements.
Sunday, The Daily Beast reported that Perry's camp was linked to spreading the anti-Mormon message. The publication has obtained a series of emails disclosing that a conservative Christian activist with close ties to the Perry campaign, David Lane, was supporting the anti-Mormon attitude.
"Thank you for what you are doing and for your leadership," the email addressed to the Perry campaign is supposed to read. "Getting out Dr. Jeffress [sic] message, juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things."
Perry has officially renounced Jeffress after the controversy.
"I have a lot of people that endorse me but I don't endorse what they say - or what they believe, for that matter - and that's the case on this one. I can't control those individuals who go out and say something who may be for me in a race," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Oct. 14.