Gingrich stumbling in Iowa

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The latest Iowa polls show Newt Gingrich losing ground to Ron Paul–up by 10 points (27-17) over Paul according to InsiderAdvantage and by just one (22-21) according to PPP. Meanwhile, Gingrich’s new political director, Des Moines political consultant Craig Bergman, has left the campaign allegedly for making anti-Mormon remarks at a GOP focus group just before he joined the Gingrich campaign.

Bergman got into trouble yesterday when the Iowa Republican website ran a story on a focus group, which had been assembled to assess the field of GOP presidential aspirants. Bergman’s statement regarding Mormonism went as follows:

“There is a national pastor who is very much on the anti-Mitt Romney
bandwagon,” Craig Bergman said. “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.”

I’m a little dubious that this is why the under-equipped Gingrich campaign, which can ill afford to lose experienced Iowa political operatives, dropped Bergman like a hot potato. I’d say it had more to do with what he told the focus group about Gingrich himself:

Craig Bergman, a Tea Party activist and campaign veteran called Gingrich
“the smartest unwise man in America. Because unwise means making bad
choices.” Bergman is leaning strongly toward backing Gingrich, but feels
incidents like appearing in a global warming ad with Nancy Pelosi give some conservatives reservations about supporting him.

Oops. As for the putative offending remark, there’s nothing particularly anti-Mormon about it. It’s a putatively factual report from someone whose business it is to know what’s happening on the religious right. Personally, I’d like to know who the “national pastor” is that’s playing a big hand against Romney.