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:

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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. Call_The_Bluff

    Yeah right. The only God is my God.

    December 13, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. Scott A

    Gingrich is running a positive campaign? Really? Is CNN asleep at the wheel for letting that comment go unchallenged? Newt made disparaging comments about the poor, minorities (African-Americans), and Palestinians. How exactly is he running a positive campaign when he chooses to be so negative?

    December 13, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  3. rob

    The Mormon cult is a repulsive, immoral, disgusting, bigoted organization that spreads hate against others. And Mormon beliefs are laughable. And if they can spend tens of millions of dollars on hate campaigns, why can't they pay taxes? Why are taxpayers subsidizing governments services to this pathetic, faux "religion?" The sooner this cult is brought down, the better off the country will be.

    December 13, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  4. 7Se7en7

    As an atheist, it's always hilarious to stand on the sidelines and watch different religions have it out without realizing the obvious.

    December 13, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  5. Christopher

    I note, with increasingly greater levels of pleasure, the slow and subtle downward spiral of the Republican party. This party stands as a peculiar lesson for what can happen to a minority party (yes there are actually more Democrats and independent voters than Republican voters)that manipulates its followers in to voting against their best interest by appealing (manipulating the modestly educated)to "values" that are designed to divide groups tha( actually have the same fundamental needs. The far right with its flag waving will probable do more real and lasting damage to this country than we know.

    December 13, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. Naz lopez

    good for Newt to get rid of the Hypocrites. They are not needed. I like that Newt is standing up for what he believes. Like giving amnesty to those immigrants that have been here 25 years or more. It would take someone from a southern state to say such a thing. I think he has the quihonnes to be President

    December 13, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. Brian Smith

    And gingrich should step down for his "invented people" comment too.

    December 13, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  8. Pedro

    Republicans hate so many people it's not surprising when they end up hating each other.

    December 13, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  9. Elphaba

    Mormonism a cult? No more so than Christianity.

    December 13, 2011 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  10. Mike

    Yup...Evangelicals would rather have an adulterer than a Mormon. Got to have priorities.

    December 13, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. agnostictypethinker

    I am a believer in what? I don't know. I do believe there is some thing. I dontt believe in in the mass hysteria that is organized religion. Whether it be Christian or Islam or Hebrew or any body. Get a grip sheeple!

    December 13, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  12. reinadelaz

    I hope Newt Gingrich keeps his commitment to run a positive and solution oriented campaign. God knows this country needs something positive in the political arena and Axelrod has already thrown positive out the window for the Dems.

    December 13, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  13. Robert St. Jacques

    As a Mormon and life-long Republican I find Mr. Bergman's comments highly disturbing, I had never thought that I was a second class citizen of the great republic before this election cycle, and if, by some strange fluke Gingrich gets the nomination I cannot vote for him for President, this will be the first time that I will make a protest vote.

    December 13, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  14. Luke

    Mormonism is a cult. What's the big deal? You can vote for a member of a cult in the USA, can't you?

    December 13, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  15. Joseph Smith

    Truth hurts...too bad this guy had to pay for it

    December 14, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  16. James

    This is what you consider news worthy?! Lmao! You know what would be news worthy? A straight, non-deceitful answer from Obama, as to why he followed the words of a racist, America-loathing, hate monger, like "rev" Wright. Once you can do that, I will take this article with more than a grain of salt. Please know, I am not a Newt supporter, but if Obama gets a pass on something like THAT, I think its safe to say, you are desperate for articles to publish..... lol

    December 14, 2011 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. Whats theProblem

    But it IS a cult! So what's all the hype about? It's been written by many different news sources as being a Cult. They do not worship Jesus as being the Christ, for one.

    December 14, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  18. The Phist

    By definition, all religions are a cult. I see no problem with calling them exactly what they are.

    December 14, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  19. Steve C

    By definition in Merriam-Websters dictionary a cult is definied as: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents / so therefore by definition ALL RELIGIONS ARE CULTS!!!

    December 14, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  20. Cybersport

    Organized religion is an excuse for bigoted people to justify their bigotry. I disagree with Gov. Romney on many issues and may or may not vote for him if he is the Republican nominee; (I voted for President Obama in 2008).

    His religious beliefs however, will have no influence on my choice.

    December 14, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  21. angryoldguy

    Is it possible that this GOP campaign can become more disgusting? These vile, snarky, smarmy attacks by the candidates on each other are an indication of how the 2012 campaign is going to be conducted. What has happened to my country? It's nauseating and depressing and I fear for how low, we as a country, can sink! Where is the America I grew up in? Gone!

    December 14, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  22. Good for Gingrich for not being a bigot...

    Of course, he does realize that much of the support he is garnishing in Iowa is because the followers of thousands of pastors would rather see a serial adulterer guilty of multiple ethics violations who has been in and out of multiple religions as well take the office of president than a "cult" member who has remained married to one woman, stands by his faith and has led a cleaner life than most politicians.

    December 14, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  23. HolyChrist

    Newt is a terrible human being that has no place making any decisions that affect the American people.

    December 14, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  24. Greg Legakis

    Mormons are Christians. Do your research.

    December 14, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  25. matt

    what is this guy apologizing for? telling the truth? come on whatever happened to the right of free speech and he is it really that much of a stretch to call mormons a cult? i dont think so

    December 14, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
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