David Gregory's view that the candidate needs to focus on faith makes little sense, philosophically or politically.
In an unusual turn of events, something interesting happened on Jay Leno last night. The comedian was hosting David Gregory of Meet the Press, and the conversation turned to faith. Here's what Gregory had to say about Mormonism:
Let's be honest, this is the core of who Mitt Romney is. He was a missionary in France for two years. He has been a bishop in the church, which, in the Mormon church, is effectively like a a priest. Philanthropically, he's made huge contributions. He's had a big impact on the church. And yet he doesn't talk about it. It's the core of who he is, and yet he doesn't feel like it's safe to talk about.
There are two distinct and important points here. One is the idea that Romney -- often derided as missing a core -- does have one, in Mormonism; and the second is that he's afraid to discuss it. It's easy to see his Catch-22, if it's all true.
But does it make sense, philosophically or politically? It's not as if Romney has tried to hide his faith. He's spoken about its importance to him and touted his experiences as a bishop. In December 2007, he delivered a major speech in Houston -- meant to echo John F. Kennedy's famous speech on religion in 1960 -- discussing it. (An interesting footnote: During the 1968 presidential campaign, the Mormon faith of Romney's father George was a minor issue.) As recently as Monday, Romney fielded a pointed question about Mormonism in Wisconsin. And he handled it with aplomb: He was willing to answer specific questions about his own faith, but wisely declined to engage in a dead-end theological debate with an obviously hostile questioner.