Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Romney: My campaign had nothing to do with anti-Mormon calls

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) -- "You've got to be kidding" was GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's incredulous response.

The question: Is he confident that no one associated with his campaign was involved in so-called push-polling?

The practice is a political attack disguised as legitimate polling. Callers portray themselves as nonpartisan members of a polling organization, then provide negative or misleading information about a candidate in an effort to discourage voting for that person.

Romney appeared taken aback because the phone calls -- reported in early presidential contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire -- cast aspersions on him and his Mormon faith.

The calls also raised questions about deferments he received during the Vietnam War because he was doing missionary work in France.

"Obviously, the beneficiaries of push-polling that attacks me is not me. Somebody else has obviously pushed that forward. I have no idea who it was, but I hope the attorney general of New Hampshire finds out who it is, and we can get that resolved and we can know who was behind it, " Romney told CNN. Video Watch what Romney says when asked about push-polling »

Some of his rival campaigns privately have suggested that a Romney ally did the calls deliberately to illicit mass condemnation and perhaps discourage an opponent from using the tactic closer to Election Day.....

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