Newt 2012 Staffer Fired Over ‘Cult of Mormon’ Comment, Called Gingrich ‘Unwise Man’

Dec 14, 2011 1:04am

Des Moines, Iowa— A member of Newt Gingrich’s campaign staff in Iowa was asked to resign Tuesday after disparaging comments he had made about Mitt Romney surfaced.

Craig Bergman, the political director for Newt 2012 in Iowa said last Wednesday that some pastors are on the “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. There’s a thousand pastors ready to do that,” Bergman said last week to a Republican focus group.

In the same focus group Bergman also was critical of Gingrich, calling him the “smartest unwise man in America.”

According to the The Iowa Republican, the organization that hosted the focus group, Bergman was worried about backing Gingrich after incidents such as the GOP frontrunner’s appearance alongside fellow former Speaker of the House Nancy Peolsi in an ad dealing with global warming.

Bergman had just begun working as a political director for Newt 2012 last week, and had participated in The Iowa Republican’s focus group prior to joining the campaign. According to their website, the focus group included a retiree, a college student, Tea Party members, a GOP county co-chair, and some influential consultants.

Bergman has previously worked for Ron Paul during his 2008 campaign, and most recently was a part of the grassroots movement in Iowa for a Sarah Palin presidential campaign, ‘Organize 4 Palin.’

Linda Upmeyer, Gingrich’s Iowa Caucus chair told the Des Moines Register that Bergman’s views did not represent Gingrich’s views. Upmeyer said she has never had any discussion with Gingrich that resembled Bergman’s remarks. The campaign released a statement Tuesday night saying Bergman agreed to step away from his role.

“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,” R.C. Hammond said.

Bergman was not a central part of Newt 2012′s ground team in Iowa yet. Craig Schoenfeld is the executive director of the Iowa campaign, along with caucus chairs Linda Upmeyer and Greg Ganske, who have been very vocal in the state recently, rebutting attacks in the media from the Romney campaign.

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