Romney vs. Obama: a historic race between once persecuted peoples

Charlotte (ABC 4 News) - One of the most intriguing stories of this presidential race is all but being ignored.
CHARLOTTE (ABC 4 News) - Thursday night, President Barack Obama will accept his party's nomination for president.

For the next 60 days, he and Mitt Romney will be matched in a historic campaign: a Mormon running against an African-American.

With all of the convention hoopla the last two weeks, something very important has been lost.

These are two candidates from two peoples that were once outsiders in their own country.

Not long ago, this race would have been unthinkable.

Seven score and 10 years ago, a civil war was fought over African-Americans being free.

About the same time, Utah Mormons were dealing with their own issues of American discrimination.

A century and a half later, historian Ken Verdoia is now amazed at who's now running for president.

Not long ago, he told ABC 4, "Go back to Abraham Lincoln. This is a race even the Great Emancipator could never consider. An African-American running for reelection of President of the United States against a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

With just two months left before the election, LDS members talk about Mitt Romney the way African-Americans talked about Barack Obama four years ago: historic, uplifting, something they weren't sure they would ever see in their lifetime.

At the Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz told us, "Who would have thought that Mitt Romney, BYU graduate, would be running against the first black president in the history of the United States. That's pretty amazing."

Verdoia uses other words, "Tolerance, diversity, opportunity, accommodation, progress."

While it's easy to get caught up at conventions with celebrities talking to empty chairs, one of the biggest stories is all but being ignored.

It's the story of how two men are seeking the highest office of a country which once persecuted their people.

As Verdoia puts it, "This is and extraordinary expression of what is best about America. That those who have fallen or suffered can one day find the path to lead."

FOLLOW CHRIS VANOCUR ON TWITTER: @cvan4
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