Televangelist Pat Robertson suggested on his "700 Club" show Monday that although Mitt Romney is far from being Jesus, the GOP candidate is still an adequate alternative to President Barack Obama for Christian voters.
"It looks like the people who were worried about his Mormonism ... at least that crowd is diminishing somewhat. The question is, if they have two candidates, you don't have Jesus running against someone else. You have Obama running against Romney," Robertson said on his Christian news program, which ran an interview with the former Massachusetts governor.
The Christian Broadcasting Network founder and chairman expressed last month that he believes Romney, who gave a speech at Liberty University over the weekend, can carry the country forward, despite previously insisting he would not back a candidate.
"Well, his father George was a Mormon. He was governor of Michigan, did a superb job as governor. He's not running for Chief Rabbi or Chief American Pastor. He's running for Chief Executive, and he's a skilled lawyer, he's a skilled businessman. And that's what we need... somebody [who] would bring business acumen to the White House," Robertson shared with viewers on his show in April.
Romney was widely applauded by those attending the commencement at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Saturday morning, in which the former Massachusetts governor called on graduates to let "the message of Jesus Christ" be their guide. As a contrast to Obama's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage, Romney also declared once again that he supports the traditional definition of marriage.
"Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said to great applause. He focused most of the rest of his speech of faith, family and service.
In a later interview with CBN, Romney insisted that Christian conservatives concerned that he may abandon social conservative stances and shift to the political middle can look at his track record as governor of Massachusetts and see that he has been consistent with the main issues.
When asked specially about his plans on defending the traditional definition of marriage, especially in light of President Obama's comments, Romney said that he could not promise he would make it the main aspect of his campaign – noting that there were other issues people were concerned with too.
"I think people of different backgrounds have different issues that they find to be the most compelling, and interesting," the presumptive GOP candidate said. "What I speak about day to day in some respects reflects what I'm being asked about. And so those issues, by virtue of the president's change of view on this topic, has become more current today."
"I'll do my best to talk about the issues Americans care most about," the candidate added.
Romney affirmed that he will also do his best to attract evangelical voters, as well as Americans as a whole, to support his candidacy.
"I think I have to make a real effort to get every voter in this country," he said. "Those people who are inclined to my views of the issues of the day, whether they are economic issues, foreign policy issues, social issues, I need to make sure they understand what my views are."
Not all conservative Christian leaders have been as open as Robertson to supporting Romney for the presidency. Most recently, Bill Keller, an Internet evangelist, launched a campaign urging Christians around the nation to vote for Jesus in November's general election instead of Romney or Obama, also a confessed Christian – saying that "choosing between two evils is still evil."