Key Gingrich staff member departs over Mormon comment
December 13th, 2011
07:18 PM ET
11 years ago

Key Gingrich staff member departs over Mormon comment

(CNN) - Craig Bergman, Iowa campaign director for GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich, stepped down from his role Tuesday amid reports he made a controversial comment about Mormonism.

"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," said R.C. Hammond, press secretary for Gingrich.

According to the Des Moines Register, Bergman called Mormonism a 'cult' on Wednesday when talking to a focus group. The newspaper attributed the remark to The Iowa Republican, a conservative news website.

"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 reportedly said. "There's a thousand pastors ready to do that."

The comments come two months after a Dallas pastor tied to Texas Gov. Rick Perry created a firestorm when he referred to the Mormon faith as a 'cult' and discouraged Christian voters from supporting Romney, a Mormon.

Also see:

Gingrich, Huntsman's friendly foreign policy debate

Giuliani: Gingrich may be stronger than Romney

Cheney: Don't underestimate Gingrich

Santorum counting on Iowa

Filed under: 2012 • Faith • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. joe d

    first the fat bigot makes a racist comment about palestinians while smooching up to the warmongering AIPAC puppets and now this. the 2 time cheat is on a roll. Way to go G.O.P...the party of hate/no..Ron Paul is your only chance haters

    December 14, 2011 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  2. JDT

    I don't care if Romney is a Voodoo Preist, so long as he can fix the economy. Too much emphasis is put on religion. As a religious person, I am less interested in one's religion as I am in their qualifications to be president. I want someone smart and results-oriented.

    December 14, 2011 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  3. Dave - Phx

    The hate and prejeduce from the Republican party is not surprising. The party of the rich, racist, and redneck knows no shame.

    December 14, 2011 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  4. rs1201

    I don't care...just get a candidate who can defeat obama and send him packing!!!

    December 14, 2011 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  5. meandmybigmouth

    Okay...what's the truth here? The truth is in Ruth. Can the church explain the polygamy and promiscuity in the example of Ruth and Naomi or the harem in the story of Esther and Haman? Are those stories omitted from the evangelical bible or did Newt just want to remind the Grand Old Party about the Mitt debacle since Huntsman served him some Chinese on a hot platter and this is what he comes up with...more chit chatter. Newt is pro at the dirty dirty...he sure is from the South. I just hope he learns when to shut his mouth!

    December 14, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  6. HenryB

    And these evangelical sheep still don't realize that they are being led around by the nose. It is simply unbelievable what these good people will endure to follow the dishonest pastors who pretend to be true Christians when nothing they do resembles what Christ teaches us.

    December 14, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  7. Dave

    Those opposing the Church of Jesus Christ commonly assert that Mormons belong to a cult. However, sociologist Rodney Stark identified the LDS Church as the single most important case on the agenda of the scientific study of religion because it demonstrates how a successful new religious movement differs from the thousands of cults that fail to survive or develop into new religions. Between 200,000 and 300,000 are baptized into the church each year.

    December 14, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  8. jrp

    don't understand the controversy... it is a cult.

    December 14, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  9. Antwoine

    Just one more example of how myopic the GOP really is. In addition to race, economics, and religion... they now discriminate against "Denominations" of religion.

    December 14, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  10. Stopthemadness

    Again leave your damn religious beliefs out of politics. I don't want to hear them I want to hear answers to hard questions and see solutions to problem your political belief has nothing to do with that. Ad before any of you say if you aren't a Christian you have a moral flaw. I have a masters degree in religious studies that says you are wrong so don't bother.

    December 14, 2011 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  11. Stopthemadness

    Sorry Cell phone typing is tricky

    December 14, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  12. Otter

    How, exactly, would Obama being in office expose Mormonism as a cult?

    Serious responses only. None of the Obama basing, please. It just shows immaturity.

    December 14, 2011 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  13. cepyoung

    Mormanism is a cult, everybody knows that, what's all the fuss about?

    December 14, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  14. Mike

    But... mormonism is a cult.

    December 14, 2011 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  15. J. Smith

    I live in Utah and I can attest that the Mormons in Utah, especially in Salt Lake City are nuts! Most of them are Anglo-Saxons or descendants from England – very racist people and very socially nutty. Most of the rank and file members are sheep. the ruling elite of the Mormon church are like wolves. Most Mormon families have a pedophile lurking in the shadows.

    Mormons are nuts, Romney is a joke – obama is a fake but he'll get a second term because the system isn't letting anyone with serious goals match up against obama. Mormons are a joke, they are a dangerous joke, however (Mountain Meadows Massacre anyone?) and this whole presidential election is a joke – the system has obama locked in for 4 more years of nothing but war worry. Wait and see, you'll see it happen!

    December 14, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  16. HankLion

    Let me get this straight:
    -Last Wednesday 7 December Mr. Bergman makes a remark about mormons.
    -According to Mr. Hammond this was prior to becoming an employee of the Gingrich campaign.
    -Thus between Thursday 8 December and Monday 12 December Mr. Bergman was hired as 'Iowa campaign director'.
    -On Tuesday 13 December he is fired again for a remark he made 6 days ago?

    And 28% of the GOP wants Gingrich to be president? Do they think the rest of us lacks a brain like they do?
    Wait, I think I just answered my own question...

    December 14, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  17. knox

    You religous people are so funny. God or No God the majority of you are F-ing crazy.

    December 14, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  18. PJ

    There is little doubt it is a cult; however, the staffer was wrong to state this when he did.

    December 14, 2011 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  19. Bernard Webb

    Christianity is just as much of a "cult" as Mormonism. Both involve putting your full faith into beliefs that could not possibly be true – what I would call "fairy tales". It's true that Mormonism was created by a 19th-century con man with a load of incredibly guilible followers, but all religions are founded on impossible nonsense. It's their nature. Spirituality is a wonderful thing; religion is destructive to human culture and society. There's a difference.

    December 14, 2011 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  20. rmf

    Reminds me of the flap over Kennedy's Catholicism.

    December 14, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  21. Michael

    Newt would be worse than W. He would completely ruin the middle-class.

    December 14, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  22. Frank

    This site is so biased it makes me sick. Why post a picture of a republican nominee looking up their nose with their mouth open in mid speak so they look ugly?

    December 14, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  23. Chris

    Mitt...back off and give em Newt...a man who is a hot head, has cheated on his multiple spouses, is accussed of fraud, can't raise money, etc. 4 more years of Obama will be God gift for discriminating against Mormon's.

    December 14, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  24. TheGreenDevil

    What's the big deal? All religions are cults. There's no god.

    December 14, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  25. AEK

    This brings to light a VERY touchy situation for the Republicans. A large segment of their most vocal base believe exactly this same thing. At some point, if Mr. Romney or Huntsman do get to a point where they might be a threat to win the nomination, you will see this come to a head. The fact that this segment of the party will go to the extreme of supporting the philandering liar Newt Gingrich does say a little about how desperate they are to have anyone OTHER than a Mormon as a candidate. Too bad "Pizza King" couldn't keep his hands to himself and his mouth shut. He had it all, pandered to the Tea Party, black so the Republicans could look PC when voting for him...too bad for Herman.

    December 14, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
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