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Friday, November 2, 2012

How Race And Religion Shape Two Unique Candidates

Republican president candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama meet at the end of the last debate at Lynn University on Oct. 22, 2012 in Boca Raton, Fla. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Mitt Romney is the first Mormon to win a presidential nomination. Barack Obama is the first African American president and he’s asking for a second term. What is important to know about those two aspects of these two men?

In the October 8th cover story for TIME magazine, Jon Meacham writes:

“By cultural and theological conditioning, Romney expects life to be difficult, even confounding — hence the need for the analytical skills of a management consultant. Mormons are accustomed to conflict and expect persecution. The Mormon sense of destiny gives followers a part in a divine story, a larger saga of the conflict between good and evil, infusing their lives with both great purpose and keen pragmatism.”

Meantime, Peter Wallsten writes in The Washington Post:

“Obama rarely discusses his innermost feelings about being the first African American to occupy the Oval Office, according to friends and associates, preferring to keep his thoughts closely held, shared with only a select few. He has shown himself to be drawn to the symbolic, or even aspirational, aspect of his presidency.”

Additional reading on race and Obama:

Additional reading on Romney and Mormonism:

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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