(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."