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NYT Reporter Goes To Romney's Church, Seeks Info From Worshipers

New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor appeared on MSNBC this morning to discuss an investigative report she did on Mitt Romney's Mormon church, his values and what his fellow worshipers say about him.

"What we were really looking at is the biographical influence of faith on Mitt Romney's life," Kantor explained.

While Kantor concedes "nobody thinks that as president he would sort of impose Mormon doctrine or rule with, you know, a Bible on his desk in the Oval Office and make decisions that way," she investigated how he applies his religion to political and personal decisions.

Kantor says she found out that Romney like to pray "quite a lot" and "quite seriously" on both political and business decisions.

"We're talking about much more subtle matters of world view, of morality, of values," Kantor told MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts. "And so some of things that we see he learned from the church is a real emphasis on persistence and resilience, a real emphasis on rules and another interesting thing I learned is that prayer plays a huge role in the way he sort of approaches the world and makes decisions. He prays quite a lot, quite seriously and he has prayed on both political and business decisions."

"You wrote that some of his traits as a Republican do mirror the traditional Mormon traits as well. What were you able to learn about those mirror images that reflect back from being a Mormon to being a Republican?" Roberts asked Kantor.

Kantor says she was able to find that the belief in American exceptionalism is not only a Republican value, but a Mormon value too.

"One of the most interesting is the belief in American exceptionalism. Every political candidate goes out on the trail and unfurls his or her patriotism, right? But Mitt Romney's is a little bit different because Mormon's actually believe that God had a plan for the United States. That the country is sort of divinely inspired, that the Constitution is divinely inspired, that our country is marked God to play a unique role in history," a surprised-sounding Kantor shared.

Kantor reports some of his fellow worshipers, "who are close to Romney," say Romney is contradicting what he talks about at church and when he is out on the campaign trail. Kantor says Romney professes being "sensitive and respectful" as well as "being generous and giving" during church, yet some of his fellow worshipers say he is "carrying out political attacks, some of which are very harsh and they see a conflict."

"The way I reported the story is I really talked to members of the LDS church who are close to Romney, who have worshiped with him over the years, who really know him. And they see one conflict in particular, which is between the kind of ideals that Romney professed in church. He put a lot of emphasis on treating other people well, on being sensitive and respectful, on being generous and giving, talked a lot about Jesus' lessons in those manner. And yet these Mormons see the way Romney is carrying out political attacks, some of which are very harsh and they see a conflict between what he taught in church and what he does on the campaign trail," Kantor said.

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