The Iowa political director for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign resigned Tuesday for suggesting that evangelicals stood ready to help God "expose the cult of Mormon."
Craig Bergman had been with Gingrich's campaign for only a week and now he's out of a job for speaking disparagingly about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's Mormon faith.
Bergman, a "tea party" supporter, made the remarks before he joined Gingrich's campaign. He made them during a focus group last Wednesday hosted by McClatchy Newspapers and TheIowaRepublican.com, a political website, at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa.
"There is a national pastor who is very much on the anti-Mitt Romney bandwagon," Bergman said in the focus group. "A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of (President Barack) Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon ... There's a thousand pastors ready to do that."
Gingrich's campaign released a statement Tuesday night announcing that Bergman was no longer with the campaign.
"Craig Bergman agreed to step away from his role with Newt 2012 today," Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said in an email statement. "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."
Surveys have shown that Romney's religion could present a problem in winning support for the former governor.