The Romney campaign has dispatched one of its advisers to use the Huffington Post (no friend of the right, at all) to give another day of life to the smear of Perry, regarding that pastor who doesn’t lead Perry’s church and who has no connection to the Perry campaign at all.
But [Romney adviser Mark] Demoss told The Huffington Post that the actions of Texan Baptist Pastor Robert Jefress — who first thrust the Mormonism issue into the campaign 10 days ago — have given him “doubt” about whether the Perry campaign is as removed from attacks on Romney’s faith as it has tried to appear.
“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 said. “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. I think they would have asked him and said, ‘This isn’t helping us.'”
In addition, new information came to light Sunday that suggests the Perry campaign has at least been in touch with operatives who are actively promoting the anti-Mormon narrative among voters. David Lane, a Perry backer and political organizer who moves in evangelical circles, wrote an associate in an email that was published by The Daily Beast that “getting out Dr. Jeffress [sic] message, juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things.”
Is David Lane working for the Perry campaign? No. He is yet another independent operator, doing his own thing.
Episodes like this help explain why the distrust of Romney among conservatives is so high. We’re well past the political statute of limitations on this story, when Romney had the benefit of the doubt for, perhaps, not knowing the facts. He and his campaign surely know the facts about Jeffress by now. But they’re using Lane’s comments as an excuse to attack Perry and play the victim card for themselves, and using a left wing site to launch their attack.
This strategy may get them to the general election, but it will not help them win it.