David Frum contrasts the challenge Romney faces with Kennedy’s situation in 1960:
Nobody expected Kennedy to defend the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, or the idea of intercession by saints, or the use of images in Catholic places of worship. He spoke in Houston as a politician, explaining his understanding of the boundaries between religion and politics.
Romney faces a very different problem – and a very different set of questions. Nobody doubts that Mormons as a community and as individuals honor and respect the rules of the American constitutional system. But precisely because nobody does doubt it, Romney will get nowhere by explaining that Mormons do.
Romney rather faces much more purely religious questions – and any attempt to respond to them must draw him into a purely religious answer that will almost certainly do him more harm than good. Is Mormonism a Christian faith? Is it a plausible system of belief? What does it say about you that you accept as true something that most Americans regard as blatantly false?
These are the questions that lurk about the Romney candidacy. In my opinion, they are not appropriate questions to ask – and so they are not questions it is possible to answer. But if Romney does answer them, he is going to have to answer them all the way. Evasive tactics will buy him nothing. Yes, he can give a speech about how Mormons are good citizens. Or that stresses the commonalities between the Church of Latter Day Saints and the more established denominations. But those responses will not satisfy anybody for very long. He will have opened the door to the question: “Is it OK for somebody who believes what you believe to be president?” And he will not find that door so easy to shut.
Read the whole thing, which ends with some wise advise for Romney.