But he's mostly avoided talking about it on the campaign trail, largely avoiding religious forums and events throughout the primary season.
And at arguably the most religious venue he's addressed during the campaign — since announcing his bid, Romney hasn't made a public appearance in a church of any kind — he continued to keep his own faith in the background.
"This isn't a speech about Mormonism," senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told reporters Friday on a conference call. Fehrnstrom pointed to the speech Romney gave in Texas in 2007 outlining his faith and defending religious freedom — the last time the former Massachusetts governor has addressed his faith in any detail.
Still, it was clear the campaign was keenly aware of the overtones. Romney was introduced by Mark DeMoss, an evangelical who has repeatedly defended Romney's faith on the campaign trail. "I suspect I won't agree with Mitt Romney on everything, but I will tell you this: I trust him. I trust him to do the right thing," said DeMoss, who went on with a lengthy testament to Romney's values.
Despite the concern, surveys have shown for months now that whatever reservations Republican evangelicals have about Romney's faith, they are likely to back him in a general election.
A spokesman for Liberty said that Romney is not the first Mormon to speak at a university commencement. "This is our 39th commencement speaker, and 21 of those 39 speakers would not necessarily meet Liberty's doctrinal theological statement," said the spokesman, Johnnie Moore, explaining that anyone who teaches at the university is held to that doctrinal standard.
Romney's selection as commencement speaker was an issue for some students who graduated from Liberty this weekend. When the school announced Romney as commencement speaker, hundreds of angry comments were posted on Liberty's Facebook page by people who said they were students or alumni, objecting to giving a Mormon a platform. The school responded by affirming its welcome to Romney.
"There was some concern in my family, yes," because of Romney's Mormonism, said Robert Maginnis, a retired Army colonel whose nephew is a member of the 2012 class.
Ahead of Romney's remarks, University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said the school's invitation to him should not be considered an endorsement. He noted that his father, the school's founder, said that Christians should vote for the candidate who shares their political positions "not the candidate that shares his or her faith or theology."
Zoll reported from New York. Associated Press writer Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.
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