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Gingrich courts evangelicals; dismisses sagging poll numbers

by Jane Musgrave | January 29th, 2012

LUTZ – Minutes after attending a “Sanctity of Life” worship service at the cavernous Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church outside Tampa, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich dismissed weekend polls that showed him trailing leader Mitt Romney by 11 points headed into Tuesday’s election.

“The race is substantially closer than the polls suggest,” he told reporters. Saturday’s endorsements from former former presidential rival Herman Cain and right-wing darling Sarah Palin and his continued support from Michael Reagan, the iconic Republican president’s son, show who in the race is the true conservative, he said.

Besides, he said, “Ronald Reagan was 30 points behind Jimmy Carter and he beat him with a bigger number of votes than Roosevelt beat Hoover.”

The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 showed the former Massachusetts governor with a commanding 42 to 31 percent lead over Gingrich. It also uncovered a significant gender gap between the two candidates.

While tied among likely male voters, Romney commands a 19 point lead among women, the poll found.

“I have no idea,” he said when asked why he might not be attracting female voters. “I’ve never seen the numbers.”

Pundits have suggested that it might be his two failed marriages. He began have an affair with his current wife, Callista, while still married to his second wife.

The infidelity issue isn’t a deal-breaker for evangelicals, said Todd Graves, who watched Gingrich work the crowd after the service.

“As Christians, we’re taught that forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity,” he said. “He said he has asked for forgiveness and regrets what he did. I have to accept what he says is true. It’s not up to me to judge. That’s between him and God.”

Outside the church, Gingrich said that evangelical leaders throughout the state are backing him because they believe he is the only candidate who can beat Romney, a Mormon, and bring Christian values back to the White House.

“I believe life begins at conception,” he said. While he said he opposes using embryonic stems cells for research, he said he isn’t against in vitro fertilization. However, he said, he wants to know more about what is done with unused fertilized eggs.

Despite those views, Grave said, Gingrich won’t get his vote. He supported Romney in 2008 and switched from Gingrich to Cain to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum this year. He said he will likely vote for Santorum Tuesday, even though he has little chance of winning the state’s winner-take-all primary.

Graves said he has watched Gingrich since he led the House in the 1990s with his Contract With American. “I think Gingrich is eventually going to implode because that is his history,” he said.

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5 Responses to “Gingrich courts evangelicals; dismisses sagging poll numbers”

  1. No To Casino Industry Says:

    Brett Doster had the social conservatives all lined up for Romney long ago. Then activists like Neal,Wheldon,Cancio,and Giotis hit Gingrich on his casino industry ties.

  2. John Says:

    Newt bringing Christian values back to the wire house? Which ones are those? The ones that led to his ethics violations? Perhaps the ones that led to his philandering, or his quest for an “open” marriage? Would floridians really prefer a man who professes christian values belted by his actions over someone who lives his Christian values but isn’t from a “sanctioned” religion? Give me a person who lives by their values any day over the one who merely professes with his lips but de deniesny the teachings of Christ when it counts most – in his marriage covenant. If his 3 scorned wives can’t trust Gingrich, why should I?

    John

  3. Gracie Says:

    Newt is asking us to accept his second mistress as our First Lady. Sorry, but America deserves better.
    Newt can say he has Christian values, but Mitt has lived them his whole life. Newt cannot say that, and whose to say he has repented. He has his trophy younger wife now so there’s no need to still be a tomcat.

  4. Fred E Says:

    This dude will use any angle and make any statement whether it is true or not to gain his goal of becoming president. A vote for Newt is a vote for Barak Obama and the extension of Obama’s it’s either my may or the highway attitude toward the voter. You elect me and I will put you on the moon type of political promises, but what else could we expect out of a Washington insider with the most years of any of the GOP candidates in this primary season.

  5. Raymond Takashi swenson Says:

    Last week in an interview gingrich claimed that his adulteries made him more of a “normal” guy than Romney, because Romney was faithful to his wife for over 42 years and counting. Gingrich wants to “normalize” adultery as a standard of behavior! What a “Christian” idea! How in the world does someone like Gingrich criticize abortion, when the main cause of abortion is unmarried sex like he was having for six years?

    Ten years ago, Newt’s last wife contracted Multiple Sclerosis, and Newt dumped her. Ten years ago Mitt Romney’s wife Ann got MS, and he supported her in getting it under control. Romney is a Christian in word and deed who does not have to be forgiven by voters of anything.

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