After a weekend spent courting Evangelicals at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, Mitt Romney continued locking down his arranged marriage with the religious right with an interview on Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club.
Pat Robertson offered a tepid hint at an endorsement after the interview, reminding his viewers that Romney may be their best option. [Update below.]
"It looks like the people who were worried about his Mormonism, at least that crowd is diminishing somewhat," Robertson said. "The question is, if you have two candidates, you don't have Jesus running against someone else. You have Obama running against Romney."
Romney displayed similar reluctance in his interview with CBN, declining to throw red meat when asked about his opposition to same-sex marriage, which he voiced — albeit briefly — in his commencement address at Liberty U.
"I think people of different background have different issues that they find to be most compelling and interesting," he said. "So, I'm asked about social issues as well as foreign policy issues and economic issues. And of course I'll describe my views on those issues to people that have interest."
UPDATE: Chris Roslan, a spokesman for Robertson, told BuzzFeed the host's remarks did not constitute an endorsement.
"What he's saying there is that Romney's Mormonism is no longer an issue, so it's a fairly level playing field," Roslan said. "He's not endorsing Romney by any means. He came out in the Fall and said he's not going to endorse anyone in any presidential races."
Roslan also pointed out that CBN is a non-profit organization, so by law, it's not allowed to air an endorsement from one of its hosts.
Although Robertson said last October that he wouldn't endorse a presidential candidate, this isn't the first time he's appeared to indicate support for Romney. Last month on his show, he praised Romney, calling him "a skilled lawyer, and a skilled businessman. And that's what we need, is somebody who can bring business acumen to the White House."
He continued: "I can't imagine that he's going to interject the Mormon religion into the way he governs. He might, but I would sincerely doubt it... I believe [we] now have a clear-cut choice between somebody who has no plan and between somebody who has a very detailed plan."
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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