Gingrich Iowa director resigns after Mormon comment

DES MOINES Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:26pm EST

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DES MOINES (Reuters) - Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich's new political director in Iowa resigned on Tuesday after negative comments he made about rival Mitt Romney's Mormon religion came to light.

Craig Bergman's comments were made last Wednesday and reported on Tuesday by The Iowa Republican, a website that promotes Republican causes in the state.

Bergman told a voter focus group sponsored by The Iowa Republican and McClatchy newspapers that Romney's religion could hurt him with Iowa's influential evangelical conservatives.

"A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of (Democrat Barack) Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon," Bergman said. "There's a thousand pastors ready to do that."

Bergman made the comment before joining the Gingrich campaign. He reportedly was hired last Thursday, a day after the remarks were made.

Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said Bergman "agreed to step away from his role with Newt 2012 today."

"He made a comment to a focus group prior to becoming an employee that is inconsistent with Newt 2012's pledge to run a positive and solutions orientated campaign," Hammond said.

Iowa on January 3 holds caucuses that mark the first U.S. nominating contest in the battle to determine which Republican will face President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election.

Bergman's comment surfaced on a day Gingrich vowed to keep the campaign as positive as possible.

(Reporting By Steve Holland and Deborah Charles; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (8)
grasspress wrote:
i think it’s sad that the newtie has made a ‘pledge to run a positive and solutions orientated campaign’ this time around. if he had adapted such an attitude while he was in the congress he might be more respected today. younger voters won’t remember but us ‘oldies’ know him as the single-most contributor to the nastiness that now besets the country’s politicians. i mean, this guy took the ‘up your ass’ and ‘in your face’ approach to dealing with fellow legislators to a whole new level in american politics and i don’t think he should be rewarded for it.

Dec 13, 2011 8:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
exmo wrote:
So this guy is forced to resign for speaking the truth? Mormonism is a cult, theologically, and sociologically. I am not fond of Newt but I hate Romney and don’t trust either of them. However, for this guy to resign is just playing into the liberals hands.

Dec 13, 2011 8:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BotBot wrote:
Here are the characteristics of a cult:
• Small? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) has 14 million members in 132 countries. In America, there are more Mormons than there are Presbyterians or Jews.
• Excessive devotion? Mormons are devoted to the Savior, but in appropriate measure He would approve of.
• Unethical techniques? Ask the pie-throwers to name one.
• Control by isolation? Even if Mormons wanted to, this would be impossible with 14 million members in 28,000 congregations throughout the world.
• Control by threats? Again, evidence? Mormon missionaries may be exuberant, but do not threaten.
• Dependency on the group? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is just the opposite. Mormons want members to be self-reliant and independent so they in turn can help others.
• Powerful group pressure? Only if that’s the way the critics prefer to define love.
• Strange? Guilty as charged. Mormons plead guilty to all the strange things that were done by Christians in New Testament times that were lost during the great falling away in the aptly named Dark Ages, among them temple worship, vicarious baptism for the dead, definition of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as separate but united in purpose, salvation requiring both grace and obedience to commandments, prophets and apostles, unpaid clergy, and continual revelation to guide His Church.

Dec 13, 2011 11:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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