Brian Schweitzer, Montana Governor, Says Mitt Romney's Family 'Came From A Polygamy Commune In Mexico'

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) took a shot at Mitt Romney's Mormonism on Thursday, saying the Republican presidential candidate will have trouble appealing to the national electorate because his father was "born on a polygamy commune in Mexico."

The Daily Beast's Ben Jacobs reports:

While discussing swing states, Schweitzer said Romney would have a “tall order to position Hispanics to vote for him,” and I replied that was mildly ironic since Mitt’s father was born in Mexico, giving the clan a nominal claim to being Hispanic. Schweitzer replied that it is “kinda ironic given that his family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy.” Women, he said, are “not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico.”

Romney's father, the late Michigan governor George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, in 1907 to American citizens living in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints colony. The Romney family had left the U.S. to avoid being prosecuted for polygamy after laws against the practice were enforced, and returned to the U.S. after the Mexican Revolution broke out. Some family members stayed in Mexico and Mitt Romney has about 40 relatives still living south of the border.

Romney's religion has surfaced repeatedly during the campaign. Robert Jeffress, a Baptist pastor who supported Rick Perry's failed presidential bid, called Mormonism a "cult" and questioned whether Romney was truly a Christian. Jeffress was joined by other evangelicals, who said they believed that Romney's faith would pose a bigger problem for the former Massachusetts governor during the general campaign.

President Barack Obama, however, has declared faith to be an off-limits topic in the campaign.