Mormon Baptism Controversy

Earlier this year, I broke a series of stories about the Mormon practice of posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims and what that might mean for Mitt Romney’s presidential prospects in states with large Jewish populations like Florida. We will know later today whether the controversy had any impact on the results — the Jewish vote will be key in battleground states like Florida and Ohio — but the details remain interesting no matter who wins today’s election.

In addition to Anne Frank, I reported that over-zealous Mormons have also performed proxy baptism on Mahatma Gandhi and even tapped the still-living Elie Wiesel for the rite. In an exclusive interview with the Nobel Peace Prize winner, I reported Wiesel’s demand that candidate Romney “speak to his own church and say they should stop” performing posthumous proxy baptisms on Jews. My reporting also included a piece on the alleged harassment of the whistle-blowing former Mormon who uncovered the baptisms.

I talked about what I found on The Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio on Feb. 28, 2012. You can listen to the interview here:

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The Last Presidential Debate

If you watched the final debate of the 2012 presidential election last night you know the topic was foreign policy and the stakes couldn’t have been higher. I took part in HuffPost Live’s After Party to discuss how President Obama and Gov. Romney did. Check out the conversation here and watch the analysis below:

Recalling Another Vice Presidential Campaign

Last week’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan got me thinking of another national campaign I covered a dozen years ago that also saw two running mates square off in Danville, Ky. I’m talking about the historic 2000 election that not only ended in the Florida recount but pitted incumbent Vice President Dick Cheney against the first Jewish candidate on a major ticket, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. The Democrat-turned-Independent is retiring this year but in the fall of 2000, he was a hot political commodity and I was the reporter USA TODAY assigned to travel on his plane during the fall campaign.

With the candidate on his 2000 vice presidential campaign plane

From Bangor, Maine, to Seattle and every swing state in between, I was with Lieberman 24/6 (the Democratic veep press corps was the only one that got off for the Jewish sabbath). I reported on the highs — watching in the studio as he did his schtick on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart¬† and Late Night With Conan O’Brien — and the lows — charges “the moral conscience of the Senate” turned partisan and fickle on the campaign trail. And I was at Gore-Lieberman headquarters in Nashville on Election Night, reporting¬† on the team that covered the fallout that ended more than a month later at the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark decision Bush v. Gore.

A few years later, I traveled to Manchester, N.H. to cover Lieberman’s lackluster campaign for the top job in the 2004 presidential election and, a few weeks later, wrote about his decision to call it quits and stay on Capitol Hill.

Over the years, I’ve weighed in on Lieberman’s ability to infuriate his once-fellow Democrats, his neoconservatism , the political view of his fellow Orthodox Jews and his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Whatever you think of Joe, after 24 years in the Senate, all I can say is gey gezunterheyt, which is Yiddish for “go in good health.”

Dems Are The New Hawks

Dems Are The New Hawks

Since the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have touted their foreign defense strength — a big change given Republicans’ traditional strength in that area.

In this recent segment of HuffPost Live, I speak with host Marc Lamont Hill about the new hawkishness in the Democratic Party and whether that will help them win in November. Given that the third presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney will focus on foreign policy, this couldn’t be more relevant.

Mormon Moment Delayed

Here is another segment I did during the inaugural week of HuffPost Live back in August.

The discussion with hosts Abby Huntsman and Marc Lamont Hill focused on religion, specifically the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While considerable attention has been devoted to Mitt Romney’s tax returns and his former company, Bain Capital, we talked about why there had been less focus on the faith of the nation’s first Mormon major party nominee for president.

You can read related articles and see what the HuffPost Liev community had to say here. Or just watch the segment below:

Bringing Torture Back?

With drone strikes and the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama may have proved “enhanced interrogation techniques” are unnecessary to collect actionable intelligence. So why has Mitt Romney said he would revive torture if he were elected president?

That’s the topic of my latest @HuffPost segment. Hear what I and others have to say about it in this discussion hosted by my colleague Mike Sacks:

And to read more about the topic and see what others had to say, check out the entire segment here.