Romney says religion shouldn't be a factor

October 21, 2011 - 7:43 PM
APTOPIX Republicans Debate

Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry spar during a Republican presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says voters should not choose their president based on the candidate's religious beliefs or the place where they worship.

Romney was responding Tuesday to recent comments made by Robert Jeffress, a Dallas minister and supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Jeffress called Mormonism a cult. Romney is Mormon.

Romney says he was troubled that the minister would imply that people should choose a president based on the candidate's religion. He says it runs counter to the country's principles.

Perry reiterated that he did not agree with Jeffress's remarks. Jeffress introduced Perry at a recent speech and asserted that Romney isn't a Christian and Mormonism is a cult.

Asked about the comments, Romney said he's heard worse, "so I'm not going to lose sleep over that."