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Making Book on Bill Owens

Questions about the religious right are this GOP candidate's cross to bear--or is that bare?

He doesn't come across as a red-faced fanatic like Barry Arrington or as a militant like Denise Mund, who feels she has to immerse herself in the filth she wants so desperately to stop.

He's been asked whether he supports the Christian right's view that tolerance of "evil" or "wrong" ideas is not a virtue.

"I think we are a multicultural society in which, in fact, we have to have tolerance," he replies. "I've always been tolerant. Obviously we have to define what we want to tolerate. Do we tolerate child abuse? No. Do we tolerate murder? No. Do we tolerate a person who has different views than ours, a person of color? Absolutely."

Not to worry, says Owens. "Sometimes I agree with the religious right on certain issues," he says. "But there hasn't been a master plan."

Then, as he escorts a reporter from his headquarters, Bill Owens sends a wisecrack to his troops. "Okay," he says, "you guys can put the crucifixes back up."

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