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Romney accepts Jones endorsement

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Sunday he accepts Bob Jones III's endorsement, even though Jones has criticized his religion.

Jones, an evangelical Christian leader, has called Mormonism a "cult, an erroneous religion," but has thrown his support behind Romney, who is a Mormon. In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, was asked how he could accept support from someone who berated his faith.

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"Well, you know, religions are in a competitive battle," Romney explained. "They're competing for souls and adherence, and the good news is that Bob Jones may not agree with my faith and, obviously, he does not, but he does believe I'm the right person to be president of the United States ...."

Romney said he wouldn't preclude selecting an atheist for his cabinet or nominating one to the Supreme Court.

"You look at individuals based upon their skills and their ability, their values, their intelligence, and there are many who are agnostic or atheist or who have very different beliefs about the nature of the divine than I do, and you evaluate them based on their skills," he said.

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