(CNN) – Responding to a Baptist minister's labeling of the Mormon faith as a "cult," presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, one of two Mormons running for the White House, said the resulting firestorm over the pastor's comments has become a "political sideshow."
"I think that we have such limited bandwidth in terms of what this nation focuses on and discusses and makes a priority," Huntsman told reporters Monday after a New Hampshire event. "This is a political sideshow."
Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Church Dallas, sparked controversy Friday when he called on Christians to vote for Texas Gov. Rick Perry over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney because of Romney's Mormon faith.
Romney has yet to publicly respond to the pastor's remarks, but he directed some discontent toward another religious leader Saturday during his speech at the Values Voter Summit, a social conservative conference put on by the Family Research Group.
"Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind," Romney said. "The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate."
On Monday, Huntsman, who's aggressively campaigning in New Hampshire in hopes of winning the first-in-the-nation primary, said the issue was "nonsense" and argued voters had other things to worry about in a time of high-unemployment and with troops involved in two wars abroad.
"I can't even relate to it in a sense, because it's so inconsequential," Huntsman said. "It's so meaningless to so many people."
ONLY when it's about you right Huntsman? Nothing was said when it was about your former employer (now) POTUS. A typical republican – their motto: when it's about you – you deserve it – when it's about me "it's a sideshow". Romney has been mouthing OFF for years and now his chickens have come home to roost. IF you want to run for president – then you better get ready for public scrutiny and I DO want to know my presidents/future presidents beliefs.
I beleive Ambassador Huntsman gave the appropriate response to the issue of religion in the 2012 election- Year 236 of the Republic. Americans of the Morman Faith pay taxes, service our nation and bury their war dead. Furthermore, regardless of his religious backyard, John Huntsman would make a great President.
It's not the issue for Huntsman that it is for Romney, because Huntsman isn't trying to cater to the religious right.
Huntsman makes too much sense for the tea party to approve him for the republican nomination.