By DAVID BAUDER, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — NBC News unsuccessfully went back to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to request an interview for this week's prime-time special on the Mormon faith after he began to seem more open to talking about it.
The single-topic "Rock Center" episode will air Thursday as originally planned, said the show's executive producer, Rome Hartman.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, will be the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party, and his campaign has generally resisted talking about his faith. But Romney last weekend invited reporters to Mormon chapel services with his family, and a new campaign ad touted him as a defender of religious freedom.
NBC requested a Romney interview weeks ago but was denied. With the new developments, the network made another request Monday but was turned down again.
The newsmagazine's producers thought it worthwhile to examine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the eve of one of its members becoming the Republican nominee for president. During the hour, correspondent Harry Smith does a piece on why Mormons are so successful in business and tours a Salt Lake City warehouse where a huge amount of supplies is kept for the needy.
Kate Snow profiles a gay person, a feminist and an interracial couple on their experiences within the church, and NBC finds a Mormon cast member of the Broadway show "The Book of Mormon."
"What we set out to do very broadly is not an hour on Mitt Romney but an hour about the religion that has played a very important role in shaping who he is," Hartman said Wednesday.
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