December 14, 2011

Gingrich staffer resigns after Mormon comments

Newt Gingrich's political director in Iowa is out of a job after making disparaging comments about Mitt Romney and his Mormon faith.
Craig Bergman resigned Tuesday after his comments, made in a focus group prior to joining Gingrich's campaign last week, came to light. Among other things, Bergman had said an unnamed national pastor was on an "anti-Mitt Romney bandwagon."
"A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon," Bergman said, according to the website, which hosted the focus group. "There's a thousand pastors ready to do that."
Bergman's departure came as Gingrich made a plea to his supporters and aides to run a positive campaign, free from "ad hominem attacks" on his GOP presidential rivals.
"Craig Bergman agreed to step away from his role with Newt 2012 today," Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said in a statement late Tuesday. "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."
Gingrich earlier this year criticized a pastor who supports rival Rick Perry for likening the Mormon church to a cult, saying the comments by Robert Jeffress were "very unwise and very inappropriate."
A recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life showed white evangelical Protestants are more likely to believe that Mormonism is not Christianity. The same poll also found that Romney, one of two Mormons in the race, garnered 17% support among white evangelical Protestants.

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