Have you seen the video wherein Romney goes to bat for Mormonism in a candid moment? In it, Jan Mickelson is interviewing Romney for WHO in Ioma. It’s a pretty standard interview, until they go off the air. Unaware that the camera is still rolling, Romney starts arguing in earnest with Mickelson about Mormonism.

Things get really interesting when Romney explains how one can be a faithful Mormon who is pro-choice. Romney’s explanation leads Mickelson to tell Romney that his Mormonism would be more palatable if he didn’t distance himself from his religious beliefs. Romney vehemently objects to the implied accusation that he’s somehow been a less-than-faithful Mormon, pointing out that the church’s prohibition of elective abortions among church members doesn’t require the legal prohibition of abortion — not any more than the church’s prohibition of pre-marital sex requires the legal prohibition of pre-marital sex.

The rancor continues when Mickelson attacks Romney for his answer to George Stephanopoulos’ now famous question about whether Christ will come to Jackson County, Missouri. My fellow Mormon Matters panelists Tom Grover and Ronan Head both categorized Romney’s answer as “a fudge” in Episode 2 of Mormon Matters. In a thread on this very blog, my fellow perma-blogger, John F, has defended Romney’s answer as accuarate. Romney offers an impassioned defense of his statement, and he’s correct. (For the record, I side with John F in his original defense. Tom and Ronan seem to think that it’s unfair (or parsing words) to maintain an informal equivalence between the question “Will Christ return to Jackson County, Missouri?” and “Will Christ return to Jackson County, Missouri first?” Now, Ronan and Tom are both very smart. But this is quite a stretch [dare we say fudge?] on their part.)

As far as I’m concerned, the statement most indicative of Mickelson’s approach is his refusal to admit that Romney knows more about Mormonism than Mickelson. Mickelson comes across as both belligerent and ignorant.

Furthermore, I’m impressed to see Romney go to the mat over something he believes in. In fact, it alleviates many of the concerns that I have about his candidacy.

Disclaimer: I support Romney, and I’ve donated to his campaign.