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Magazine has good, bad news for Romney

The current issue of Newsweek magazine has Mitt Romney on the cover - and some mixed numbers for the Republican presidential contender.

In a new poll in Iowa conducted for Newsweek, Romney has the support of 24 percent of probable GOP caucusgoers, compared with 16 percent for Fred Thompson, 13 percent for Rudy Giuliani, 12 percent for Mike Huckabee, and 9 percent for John McCain.

The poll also includes some other favorable figures: 78 percent had a favorable opinion of Romney, 77 percent said that he is able to get things done, and only 25 percent said that he changes his positions too much on important issues.

But the survey also suggests that Romney's Mormon faith remains an issue. While 72 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats said they themselves would be willing to vote for a Mormon, only 45 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats said they think America is ready to elect a Mormon as president.

The poll of 1,215 registered Iowa voters was conducted on Sept. 26 and 27 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

The margin of error for likely Republican voters is plus or minus 9 percentage points.

FOON RHEE

Groups criticize McCain

WASHINGTON - Several Jewish organizations criticized John McCain yesterday after the Republican candidate said he would prefer a Christian president over someone of a different faith.

In an interview published Saturday with Beliefnet, a multidenominational website that covers religion and spirituality, the White House hopeful was asked if a Muslim candidate could be a good president.

"I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles . . . personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith," McCain said. "But that doesn't mean that I'm sure that someone who is Muslim would not make a good president."

The American Jewish Committee, an international think tank based in New York, issued a statement criticizing the Arizona senator, arguing that McCain should know that the United States is a democratic society without a religious test for public office.

Amid the criticism, McCain has sought to clarify his remarks. While campaigning in New Hampshire on Sunday, he said that the most qualified person could be president, no matter his or her religion.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ann Romney has website

Ann Romney, who has been playing an increasingly visible role in her husband's presidential bid, now has her own website.

Annromney.com includes a list of stories about her, videos of her campaign appearances, a list of her causes (multiple sclerosis chief among them), her battle with MS, and her recipes (her grandmother's Welsh skillet cakes, which she makes for every family gathering).

The Romney campaign has been emphasizing his clean-cut family and long marriage.

FOON RHEE

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