(Photo: Reuters) While in Michigan on Friday, presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared to have joked about President Barack Obama's birth certificate saying, "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."
Just hours before America goes to the polls to decide the country's next president, Mitt Romney's Mormon faith, and its influence on the Republican's views on abortion came strongly back into play thanks to a viral video.
The video, which was first recorded in 2007 but has now re-surfaced, shows Republican candidate Romney vividly discussing the issue of abortion - and defending Mormonism.
While arguing off-air with a radio host, Romney says that his hard-line thoughts on abortion are not imposed by his faith.
"My church has very strong beliefs that Mormons should not participate, encourage, [or] in any way support abortion," Romney tells the host of an Iowa conservative talk show, Jan Mickelson.
"But the church does not say that a member of our church has to be opposed to allowing choice in society ... I disagree with that view, politically I look at it and I say you know that's wrong and it is not a Mormon thing, it's a secular position, to say, 'I was wrong, we should have, as a society, a prohibition on abortion in the following circumstances." Romney says, pointing his fingers at his chest.
Recorded during Romney's unsuccessful Republican primary campaign for the 2008 elections, the video was posted on YouTube at the end of October and has been watched by more than 1.5 million users since.
During the interview Mickelson needles Romney, implying that he somehow broke the rules of Mormonism by being openly pro-choice earlier in his political career, when as governor in Massachusetts he promised to "protect" the "pro-choice status quo" in the state.
"You're trying to tell me that I'm not a faithful Mormon," Romney told Mickelson as a quarrel between the two started at the end of the interview. "Let me once again say, I understand my faith better than you do. You don't believe that, do you?
"I was beaten up in Boston because I pointed out, time and again that I encouraged girls not to get abortions, that I told them to have adoptions. I have not done anything that in any way violates the principles of my church in that regard.
"I'm not running as a Mormon, Romney said, "and I get a little tired of coming on a show like yours and having it [be] all about Mormons."
Romney has avoided talking about his Mormon faith during the current electoral campaign but has won the endorsement of some influential conservative Christians.
In October, Evangelical leader Billy Graham called for Americans to vote for Romney's "biblical values," in opposition to Obama's liberal views on same-sex marriage and abortion.
Romney opposes abortion except in cases of rape or incest or where it is necessary to save the mother's life.
His campaign has often been embarrassed by controversial remarks on abortion and rape made by some conservative members of the Republican Party.
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