It turns out that Don Wilton, the former president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention may not have endorsed Mitt Romney after all.
Pastor Wilton tells Baptist News that he never intended to endorse Romney nationally -- only "in my capacity as an individual citizen."
OK -- but he admits he gave his "consent to the local campaign to use my affirmation of the governor's stance on family values."
Said Wilton: "It was my personal error to agree to support Romney's campaign. Until this incident I had never endorsed any person running for any elected office, Democrat or Republican."
So what he's saying, basically, is that he was fine being used as a validator of Romney's record, but he never meant to endorse Romney's candidacy and never realized that his words would be construed as a national endorsement.
The Romney campaign may get a lot of guff for this, but it doesn't seem to be warranted.
Pastor Don either changed his mind or really seems to be confused about politics.
Kevin Madden, Romney's spokesman, told me:
"He’s a great leader in the community. We respect any decision he makes with regard to his involvement with the campaign."
Here's Wilton's full statement:
"While I did give my consent to the local campaign to use my affirmation of the Governor's stance on family values in my capacity as an individual citizen, I made the mistake of not realizing the extent to which it would be used on a national basis. It was my personal error to agree to support Romney’s campaign. Until this incident I had never endorsed any person running for any elected office, Democrat or Republican. While I have had the privilege of meeting with a number of fine candidates over the years I continue to believe my role and responsibility is to preach and teach the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am committed to pray for our elected leaders as well as for the wisdom of the American people as they are compelled to make choices based upon their deep and abiding convictions. The future of this great nation is at stake and the morality of her people in relationship to the God of our founding fathers is critical to our future. While I will vote my constitutional right as an American citizen, and while I implore all eligible Americans to do the same, I will continue to use my personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as the only standard by which I determine who to vote for in any election."
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