It’s often taken for granted that Christian conservatives’ uneasiness with Mormonism best explains why Mitt Romney has struggled to win-over those voters.

In Inside the Circus, a new e-book about the 2012 campaign by Politico’s Mike Allen and Evan Thomas, the Romney campaign is depicted as so consumed with worry that the candidate’s faith would hurt him with the evangelicals that dominated the Iowa caucuses that it failed to anticipate Rick Santorum’s rise. “Part of the reason for the ceiling [of support], quite frankly, is the Mormon thing,” a Romney aide told the authors. “If he was even an Episcopalian, he’d be better off today.”

Negative perceptions of Mormonism so worried Romney’s 2008 presidential team that, according to Politico, “the dilemma had its own acronym in campaign power point presentations: TMT (That Mormon Thing).”

Of course, Romney’s ideologically malleability and political opportunism — not his faith — has always been his biggest liability with conservatives. But the Mormon angle allowed the media to portray conservatives as bigoted theocrats.

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