October 27th, 2010
06:27 PM ET

Gingrich at Liberty University: Obama's a secular socialist

From CNN's Dan Gilgoff:

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who's mulling a run for the White House, appeared Wednesday at the school founded by Jerry Falwell to address students and to meet with key conservative Christian activists from across the country.

In a speech to students at Liberty University on Wednesday morning, Gingrich said that Americans needed to fight back against secular socialists, including President Barack Obama, at home and against Islamic radicals around the world.

"Imagine a small secular political elite imposing its radical values on a massive majority of worshippers," he said in a passage describing Poland under communism, according to remarks distributed by his spokesman. "You can see how strange Poland was - or maybe you can see how relevant this story is to America today."

"President Obama's secular socialist philosophy is profoundly in conflict with the heart of the American system and is a repudiation of the core lessons of American history," Gingrich told students at the Lynchburg, Virginia, school, according to a copy of his speech provided by spokesman Rick Tyler.

"With God's help," Gingrich continued, "and with our willingness to humble ourselves, to always seek his guidance, and always do his bidding, we will overcome both our radical secular opponents and our radical Islamist enemies."

Gingrich has said he will decide whether to run for president by early next year. He is touring the country in support of Republican candidates.

After his speech, Gingrich was scheduled to meet with some of the most influential Christian conservatives in the country at Liberty, including Tom Minnery, executive vice president of Focus on the Family, Craig Parshall, executive vice president of the National Religious Broadcasters and Jim Garlow, who led pastors in support of California's gay marriage ban in 2008.

Gingrich approached the school with the idea for his visit, according to Brett O'Donnell, a media representative for Liberty.

Gingrich appeared at Liberty in 2007, shortly after Falwell died. The school's current chancellor is Falwell's son, Jerry Falwell Jr.

In recent years, Gingrich has stepped up outreach to religious conservatives.

Last year, he founded a group called Renewing American Leadership, which aims to mobilize conservative evangelicals and Catholics and to strengthen ties between economic and religious conservatives.

In 2007, Gingrich told Christian radio broadcaster James Dobson that he was cheating on his wife at around the same time the House was impeaching President Bill Clinton over his White House affair with Monica Lewinsky, in what was seen as an overture to conservative evangelicals.

On Wednesday, he again appealed to conservative Christians to get more politically involved.

"If every dedicated Christian voted," he told Liberty students, "the elections in most of America would be landslides for our values."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Education • Newt Gingrich • Politics

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