Time‘s Jay Newton-Small reports on presidential aspirant Fred Thompson’s work in Iowa. Though he’s trailing behind Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, Thompson is gaining some traction by offering himself up as the true conservative in the race:
Thompson firmly believes he can play well with Evangelicals, sapping votes from their current favorite, Huckabee. He has been on the attack — trying to show holes in Huckabee’s record both in press interviews and in a mailing that went out last week that accuses Huckabee of being weak on immigration. . . .
Thompson is also hoping endorsements from the National Right to Life Committee and the Wesleyan Center for Strategic Studies, an umbrella group for 40 million conservative Methodists across the U.S., will help him in Iowa.
I didn’t even know there were 40 million Methodists in the country, much less 40 million conservative ones. That’s pretty impressive. And wildly untrue. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette religion editor Frank Lockwood notes:
The news has got to cheer Thompson, who trails in the polls. But it will perplex statisticians. According to the New York Times Almanac, there are only 13 million Methodists in the entire country — and that includes the liberals …
It says something about how out of touch some reporters are when they can identify a group that’s not exactly a household name as representing such a large group. This whole religion landscape must really be a mystery to some reporters.
The art shows Methodist superheroes — including Superman (according to Adherents.com).