Romney attends Mormon leader's funeral

Feb. 2, 2008 at 4:31 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney left the campaign trail Saturday morning to attend the funeral of Gordon Hinckley, the Mormon president and prophet, in Salt Lake City.

The former Massachusetts governor had no plans to campaign in Utah, one of many holding its primary on Super Tuesday, campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said. Romney was to fly to Minnesota after the funeral.

"He's keeping a low profile politically, because this is a personal visit," Fehrnstrom told The New York Times.

Romney sat in the second row of the church's Conference Center surrounded by other prominent politicians belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. They included U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt, a former Utah governor who was representing President George Bush, and the most prominent Mormon Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Romney is expected to win the Republican primary in Utah. But in other states, the funeral could remind evangelical Christians of Romney's religious faith.

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