|Aug. 29, 2006|
site went up in mid-2006
PRESS RELEASE (undated)
FILMMAKER ANNOUNCES MITT ROMNEY
POLITICAL ORGANIZATION AND DOCUMENTARY
While editing his most recent feature film, filmmaker Mitch Davis, writer and director of The Other Side of Heaven, began seeing articles about Mitt Romney’s potential candidacy for U.S. president. Most of the articles said that Mitt’s candidacy might be doomed by resistance from evangelical Christians to the idea of a Mormon President, particularly in the South.
“I thought what an ironic situation,” Davis comments. “Evangelicals have never had a candidate whose values and lifestyle more closely mirror their own. He’s clean and smart and sober and chaste. There’s just this history of religious infighting to overcome. I realized that exploring that issue in the context of Mitt’s run for president would make a great movie.”
“I grabbed my son and his video camera and we started doing man-on-the-street interviews. I was absolutely shocked at the level of ignorance about Mormonism I encountered,” Davis recounts. “So I decided to form a political organization to help combat that ignorance and get Mitt into the White House. We are going to promote Mitt’s candidacy and make a movie about it at the same time.”
Called “RunMittRun.org,” Davis’ organization is a 527 modeled after well known institutions MoveOn.org and Swift Boat Veterans For Truth.
“Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly receive tens of millions of dollars from MoveOn.org and other left-leaning organizations” says Davis. “I believe that Romney will make a much better President. I have formed RunMittRun so that people who want to help Mitt have a place to contribute in addition to Mitt’s campaign itself.”
As Davis researched public sentiment he discovered that ignorance, not bigotry is biggest impediment to Mitt’s election.
“Sure, religious bigotry exists out there, but the real problem is that people don’t know anything about us. Mormons have spent so much time doing missionary work, we just assume that people know us, but they really don’t.’”
A recent poll confirmed Davis’ sentiments. At the behest of RunMittRun.org, California-based Lawrence Research Associates performed a scientific poll in South Carolina, the location of a crucial Presidential primary.
The results were stunning. Of those polled, 44% believe Mormons still practice polygamy, 27% believe Mormons worship Joseph Smith, 50% believe Mormons do not believe in the Bible, having replaced it with the Book of Mormon, and 25% believe Mormons are not Christians with another 25% undecided on the topic.
Only 10% of those polled know Mormonism’s basic claim (that theirs is the restored or reestablished church of Jesus Christ on the earth).
“It was incredible how little people know about us,“ said the poll’s supervisor, Dr. Gary Lawrence, himself a Mormon. “And what they think they know, they misunderstand. It’s no wonder so many are biased against the Church when only one person in ten can even state the basic claim of Mormonism.”
“And it’s not just a Southern thing,” Lawrence continues. “The data coming out of other regions are hauntingly similar.”
Indeed, the widely reported L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll released last week showed that 37% of those polled could not vote for a Mormon for president.
“Our South Carolina number was actually slightly better than the nationwide number,” Lawrence informs. “33% of the South Carolinans said they could not vote for a Mormon. In contrast, Guiliani’s Catholicism got off with an 8% disapproval rating and McCain’s Episcopalianism rated a 13% negative score.
Davis is not discouraged by the numbers.
“Americans know that these are serious times and that we need an exceptional leader. When they find that leader in Mitt Romney, they will let a lot of their Mormon misgivings go. Our organization hopes to help them get there in time for the Presidential primaries.”
“It is going to be a really interesting time. For good or ill, Mitt’s run will be the Olympics times ten PR-wise for the Mormon Church. But if Americans who care get behind Mitt now and contribute tens of millions of dollars to the cause, we can debunk the naysayers and Mitt will win.”
Davis is counting on getting disproportionate support from Mormons in the intermountain west.
“I don’t think anyone should vote for a guy because he is Mormon. But I think a lot of people, especially in Utah, would fight against the idea that a Mormon could never be president. We need those kinds of people to begin spreading the word about Romney across the United States to all of their friends of every faith. Our website provides a lot of viral content that will make that very easy and fun to do.”
Davis summarizes: “We are going to help Mitt win and we are going to make a movie about it. If we do our jobs right, the next time a Mormon runs for President, religion won’t even be an issue.”
For more information on Davis’ political organization and to view video clips outtakes from the documentary, visit www.RunMittRun.org.
(Poll was conducted by Lawrence Research Associates based in Santa Ana, California. 10-15 minute telephone interviews were conducted July 6-10, 2006, using a random sample of registered voters proportionate to voter population density by county. Results have a +/- 4.1% margin of error with a 95% confidence level. Poll was supervised by Dr. Gary C. Lawrence, Ph.D., Stanford University.)