DeMint: Romney's religion not an issue

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) Mormon faith won't be an issue for him in the Republican presidential primary, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) argued Wednesday.

DeMint, the conservative icon who endorsed Romney in 2008 but hasn't decided whether to do so again in 2012, said that Romney's religion might not be the hindrance it has been traditionally considered to be.

"The religion is not an issue," DeMint said on MSNBC. "But I think what Americans are looking for right now is a person with principle, but courage."

Romney's Mormon faith had been thought to be somewhat of a political liability with socially conservative and evangelical Christian voters in the Republican primary. Romney tried to address those worries about his religion in a highly touted speech shortly before the Iowa caucuses last cycle.

This time, with the economy as a point of emphasis, Romney is facing fewer questions about his religion, though it's impossible to pinpoint just how much, if at all, it has diminished support for his campaign. Right now, he's the tentative front-runner for the GOP nomination, and he's not the only Mormon in the race: former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) is also a Mormon.

As for DeMint's support, he's still keeping his powder dry when it comes to Romney or any other candidate. The South Carolina conservative said Romney "could" still win his endorsement, but that he's keeping a close eye on how the presidential candidates handle the upcoming fight over raising the debt limit.

"I'm keeping an open mind," he said. "I'm not endorsing anyone right now because I want to see what they want to do on the debt limit."

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