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Newt Gingrich’s faith journey: How a thrice-married Catholic became an evangelical darling
Newt Gingrich has spent time as a Lutheran, a Baptist and a Roman Catholic.
December 10th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Newt Gingrich’s faith journey: How a thrice-married Catholic became an evangelical darling

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

(CNN) - There’s an e-mail war raging among some of the nation’s leading evangelicals over whether Newt Gingrich has repented enough for his sins to be president.

One recent skirmish was set off by an open letter urging Gingrich to give a major speech confronting his perceived moral stumbles, including an affair with his third wife, Callista, while married to No. 2.

“You need to make it as clear as you possibly can that you deeply regret your past actions and that you do understand the anguish and suffering they caused others, including your former spouses,” Richard Land, public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote.

Land urged Gingrich to make a public promise “that there will be no moral scandals in a Gingrich White House.”

Rather than galvanizing the faithful, however, Land’s letter provoked an outcry from a handful of evangelical leaders who argued Gingrich has repented enough and deserves forgiveness.

On an e-mail thread among conservative Christian heavyweights, Jerry Falwell Jr. invoked the biblical story of a woman of ill repute who met Jesus at a well. Though the woman had been married five times, Jesus forgave her.

“The woman at the well was fortunate she encountered Jesus that day instead of some of our evangelical brethren,” the Liberty University president wrote, in an apparent swipe at Land.

On the same e-mail chain, which CNN obtained from a conservative activist, prominent Atlanta preacher Richard Lee said the nation’s evangelicals needed to support Gingrich.

Lee called Gingrich “the only forceful Christian candidate who can at this point be elected and cleanse the White House next November.”

The evangelical tussling over Gingrich says a lot about the fractured state of the Republican Party less than a month before the Iowa caucuses officially usher in the 2012 race for the White House.

The sight of influential evangelicals rallying around Gingrich, a Catholic with serious “values” baggage, speaks to the huge political vulnerability of Mitt Romney, who was the perceived GOP front-runner until recent polls put Gingrich at the front of the pack.

Gingrich speaking at the April 2011 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in D.C.

Whether because of Romney’s past liberalism on gay rights and abortion or because of his Mormon faith, many of the evangelical Christians who make up the Republican base just don’t like him.

They’ve been looking for an alternative, by turns telling pollsters of their support for Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain. One by one, they’ve dropped in the polls, or out of the race altogether. Now it’s Gingrich’s turn in the spotlight.

But the argument over Gingrich’s personal life also raises fundamental questions about the candidate himself and his readiness for the nation’s highest office.

Just how much has Gingrich changed since his days as a volatile and philandering House speaker? Does he have the character to be president? And, at least for many of the evangelical voters who will dominate the early primaries: Is he a true believer?

Faith by geography

Gingrich has identified with different branches of Christianity that mirror his surroundings at different stages of life.

Born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an area settled by the largely Lutheran Pennsylvania Dutch, Gingrich was the son of a Lutheran mom and a Pennsylvania Dutch stepfather who adopted him.

Attending college at Atlanta’s Emory University and grad school at Tulane University in New Orleans, Gingrich became a Southern Baptist.

And as a creature of Washington, where Gingrich’s wife sings in a Catholic choir and where many prominent conservative Republicans have converted to Catholicism in the last decade, Gingrich joined the Catholic fold in 2009.

“I think that was all part of his pilgrimage,” says Ike Reighard, who was Gingrich’s pastor in Atlanta for nearly 20 years. “Whatever is the dominant religion in the region he was in, that was his progression... He was always super inquisitive, searching for deeper meaning.”

Gingrich’s stepdad was an army officer, making for a peripatetic family life that included stretches spent at military bases in Europe and at Fort Benning, Georgia, situated in the heart of the Bible Belt.

Gingrich, who declined interview requests for this story, was raised largely by his maternal grandmother, a devout Lutheran who, he has said, “taught me my most basic lessons about God and Satan.”

But Gingrich left his childhood denomination through an immersion baptism at the Saint Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans while at Tulane, where he was pursuing a Ph.D. in European history.

In a pattern that would last a lifetime, studying religion’s role in history and politics moved Gingrich to deepen his own faith.

Saint Charles Avenue’s pastor, G. Avery Lee, said Gingrich wasn’t a member of any church when the two first met.

“He said that in his study of political theory, he noted how much influence the church had had … and asked if I could explain,” Lee wrote in a 1994 letter to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, describing his first encounter with Gingrich.

Lee and Gingrich grew close, with the pastor eventually baptizing Gingrich even though his church took “a liberal approach to both theology and sociology.”

“It has been suggested by some that in baptizing him, I didn't hold him under long enough,” Wrote Lee, who died in 2009, in apparent reference to Gingrich’s conservative politics.

But Gingrich was more liberal back then, including on questions of separation of church and state.

“As a college student at Emory when the Supreme Court ruled that prayer was unconstitutional … I didn't notice it,” he said in a 2009 interview. “As a graduate student at Tulane I probably would have said it's a good decision.”

‘I don’t think his faith was the driving force’

After Tulane, Gingrich took a job as a history professor outside Atlanta and almost immediately began running for Congress, losing two races in the mid-’70s.

Around that time he joined New Hope Baptist Church, a 100-year old congregation south of Atlanta where Ike Reighard had recently arrived as the senior pastor.

“He had just lost for the second time and he came in and said, ‘I need your help,’” says Reighard. “I said, ‘What did you want to do in politics?’ He said he wanted to be speaker of the House.”

Gingrich won his next race for Congress in 1978. That year also marked the birth of the modern Christian Right.

The movement started in opposition to an Internal Revenue Service campaign under then-President Jimmy Carter to crack down on private schools resisting court-ordered desegregation.

Word of the campaign provoked fear and outrage among evangelical schools. Jerry Falwell joined the successful effort to thwart the IRS initiative and founded the Moral Majority the following year, in 1979. The group’s focus on fighting abortion and gay rights set the Christian Right agenda for decades to come.

Gingrich, for his part, was not considered part of the new wave of proud Christian Right warriors in Congress, some of whom were swept into power in 1980 on President Ronald Reagan’s coattails and enthusiastically blended their religious faith and politics.

For Gingrich, “I don’t think faith was the driving force,” says Reighard. “He realized that you have to look at issues and they can’t always be driven by your personal views and your religious values.”

“I heard a lot of times that people say evangelicals are one-issue people, all about abortion,” Reighard says. “But that’s not true with Gingrich. Education was important for him. Health care was important. The economy was important.”

Indeed, when Gingrich launched the Conservative Opportunity Society, an influential House caucus, in 1983, he focused on fiscal issues and practical electoral politics.

And yet Gingrich was an early ally of the budding Christian Right, even if he wasn’t a card-carrying member.

Ralph Reed, who would go on to lead the Christian Coalition, remembers watching as a libertarian activist advocating for gay rights and abortion rights challenged Gingrich at an early 1980s College Republicans breakfast.

“Newt pushed back hard,” Reed remembers. “It was clearly a position of intellectual conviction. I wasn’t yet a committed Christian and I remember finding that pretty remarkable, that Newt didn’t try to pacify this guy. He said, ‘No, you’re wrong.’”

Gingrich speaking at a 1987 news conference.

The future House speaker also stayed active at New Hope Baptist Church, which was quickly growing from sleepy country congregation to suburban Atlanta megachurch, even as he spent most of his time in Washington. When Reighard’s wife died during childbirth, Gingrich was on the phone with him while the pastor was still at the hospital.

“He was always there on Sunday mornings,” says Reighard, recalling Gingrich’s House years. “And the other thing he was always great at doing was town-hall-type meetings and potluck dinners. He was a grassroots person. There’s no telling how many of those meals I prayed at.”

Christian coalitions

But a lot of those town halls were more political than religious. Televangelist Pat Robertson launched the Christian Coalition in the early 1990s, and the group organized events around Georgia aimed at getting conservative evangelicals more involved in elections.

Gingrich, who counted himself an evangelical, expressed keen interest in the coalition’s work. But he seemed to be operating less as a pious Christian, and more as a strategist looking for ways the GOP could win the House of Representatives.

“We didn’t get into theological conversations that much,” says Patrick Gartland, executive director of the Georgia Christian Coalition in the early 1990s. “I was a grassroots numbers person. I loved the intricacies of grassroots, and he did, too, and he understood it.”

Unlike the Moral Majority in the 1980s, which was made up of pastors like Falwell, the Christian Coalition sought to mainstream the Christian Right by bringing in laypeople. The group’s local chapters were led by Christian business leaders, teachers and retirees, as opposed to pastors.

And Christian Coalition envisioned a big-tent religious conservatism that was as much about lowering taxes as it was about banning abortion.

For the broad-minded Gingrich, that vision was a perfect fit – especially after the Christian Coalition helped usher in the 1994 Republican Revolution, which put the House in GOP hands for the first time in 40 years.

The takeover catapulted Gingrich to speaker of the House, making him the country’s most powerful Republican. He vowed to pay attention to conservative Christians from his first day on the job, seeking to assuage evangelical activists who felt ignored by the Reagan administration after they’d worked hard for Reagan’s political campaigns.

“There was this dissatisfaction among evangelical leaders about [Reagan], and Newt said to me, ‘I’m not going to let that happen.’”

Best remembered for working with President Bill Clinton on fiscally focused deals like welfare reform and balancing the budget - and fiscal fights that led to a government shutdown - Gingrich also checked off major items on religious conservatives’ wish lists.

He brought a proposed constitutional amendment to allow school prayer up for a House vote. He presided over the adoption of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act – the first abortion restriction since Roe v. Wade – and the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

Speaker-elect Gingrich with then-wife Marianne and his mother Kathleen at a January 1995 Washington church service.

Yet some evangelical leaders who knew Gingrich fretted over his personal life. The hard-charging speaker displayed braggadocio and rough edges even to political allies and didn’t talk much about his own faith.

“There were a lot of conservative Christian leaders who really loved Newt but felt like he hadn’t really turned his life over to God,” says Reed.

Many of those leaders went nuclear over rumors about Gingrich’s 1998 affair with a young House aide named Callista Bisek, while he was married to his second wife, Marianne.

Theose rumors “would break my heart,” says Reighard, who counseled Gingrich and Marianne in the 1990s. “I always believed that Newt could be one of the great leaders in our country, an American version of Winston Churchill.”

Reborn a Catholic

More than a decade later, Gingrich is back in many evangelicals’ good graces, with polls showing him way out in front of Romney among evangelicals in Iowa, who accounted for 60% of caucus-goers four years ago.

What explains the turnaround?

One big factor is Gingrich’s self-described faith awakening since leaving Congress in 1998. A personal turning point was 2002, when a court ruling struck down the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools because of its “Under God” clause.

“That was the last straw,” Gingrich said in a 2009 interview with U.S. News & World Report. “And I said it’s time to challenge head-on secular domination in the West.”

Just as studying political history had led a 20-something Gingrich to the Saint Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, political developments like the Pledge ruling and other perceived attacks on religion sparked a round of soul-searching.

Though it was later struck down by the Supreme Court, the ruling led Gingrich to publish “Rediscovering God in America,” a faith-based walking tour of Washington’s key buildings and monuments.

For those close to him, the 2006 book reflected what Gingrich had been preaching for more than a decade: that religion played a key role in the nation’s founding.

“In the ’90s, he talked about this idea that power comes from God to the individual and is loaned to the state,” says Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s former spokesman. “Before that, the European model was that power came from God to the king, and [Gingrich] used to explain why that was corrupt and how Thomas Jefferson turned it on his head.”

By increasing his public attack on the secular “media-academic-legal elite” and promoting his God-infused take on American history, Gingrich was branded a culture warrior during the last decade, gaining appeal among conservative evangelicals.

Gingrich continued the courtship by regularly appearing before audiences of hundreds of evangelical pastors to talk about God, history and politics.

Gingrich delivers the Liberty University commencement address in 2007 following Jerry Falwell

“There’s no question there’s been an evolution in his thinking and speaking and writing on America’s religious heritage, which has become a much bigger part of his lexicon,” says Reed, who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition and is not endorsing any presidential candidates.

“He’s clearly found his voice on social issues, and less than 30 days from the Iowa caucuses the timing couldn’t be better.”

Gingrich further strengthened ties to grassroots evangelicals in 2009, launching a group aimed at bringing together religious and economic conservatives.

The organization, Renewing American Leadership, poured $150,000 into a successful Iowa campaign to unseat judges who had legalized gay marriage in the state. Many of the Iowa activists who led that 2010 campaign are now bullish on Gingrich.

Admitting to an affair also helped.

At a closed-door meeting with the nation’s top Christian Right leaders ahead of the 2008 election, Gingrich was asked about reports he’d been having an affair while leading the impeachment drive against Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The former speaker owned up to the affair and said it marked one the most shameful periods of his life, a time in which he was “alienated from God,” according to a participant at the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Though he didn’t run for president in 2008, Gingrich went on James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio show to admit the affair to the evangelical icon and a national audience: “There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards.”

Gingrich told listeners he’d since turned "to God to receive forgiveness and to receive mercy."

For many evangelicals, the admission and penitent tone struck a chord.

“It all depends on whether Newt has been rewired, in the theological sense of being born again,” says David Lane, an influential evangelical activist who is in regular contact with Gingrich.

“I was one of the wildest men who ever lived, loved women, wine and song, and I came to Christ,” Lane says. “I’m not perfect, but I read the Bible seven days a week. Is Newt a new man? I think he is. There’s something different about him.”

One difference is that, for the last two years, Gingrich has been an active Roman Catholic. He has described his conversion as a decade-long process inspired by Callista, who sings with a choir at the country’s largest Catholic church, Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Gingrich has said that years of attending Mass there rubbed off on him, with Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 visit providing the final impetus to conversion.

Gingrich was especially drawn to the church’s millennia-long history and intellectualism. Discussing one of his visits to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Gingrich has said, “You stand there and you think, this is where St. Peter was crucified. This is where Paul preached.

“You think to yourself, 2,000 years ago the Apostles set out to create a worldwide movement by witnessing to the historic truth they had experienced,” Gingrich said in 2009. “And there it is.”

As opposed to being a letdown to evangelical leaders, Gingrich’s conversion away from evangelical Christianity was received as something like a born-again experience.

“Prior to that, he was a sloppy Baptist who didn’t have a clue about what he believed,” says an evangelical activist who is close to Gingrich. “When he converted, he went through Catechism and had to get his faith straight. It took some of the sloppiness out.”

But Gingrich still has to convince some religious leaders he has straightened out morally.

In his letter to Gingrich urging a speech about his marital history, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Land told Gingrich to emphasize his own religious narrative.

“I know something of your faith journey over the past 20 years,” Land wrote. “Do not hesitate to weave that into your speech to the degree that you are comfortable doing so. It will always resonate with evangelical Christians.”

If polls are to be believed, the story of Gingrich’s journey is resonating already.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Catholic Church • Lutheran • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (1,901 Responses)
  1. SciGuy

    Any professing Christian evangelical who converts to RCism doesn't understand the gospel, and is therefore by definition not a Christian. Anyone who supports Newt Gingrich is likely not a Christian at all. At best they are sincerely deceived.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Neutron Grinch

      SO NOW YOU'RE PROFESSING TO BE GOD BY CLAIMING WHO'S A CHRISTIAN AND WHO'S NOT?
      WELL I SAY ANYONE WHO THINKS BARRACK HUSSEIN OBAMA IS A CHRISTIAN, HAS A SERIOUS CASE OF RECTAL INVERSION...AND IF I HAVE TO EXPLAIN THAT, THEN YOU SHOULD START READING YOUR BIBLE.
      BUT I'M NOT A PREACHER, I'M AN ANTI LIBERAL...AND PROUD OF IT, THANK GOD, LOL.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Neutron, yet another example of those who think they bolster their weak arguments with LOUD talking.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Determining who is a true christian is a favorite pass time of Christian notables such as George, Keith, HeavenScent and others of their ilk. I look forward to seeing you chastise them too.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • SciGuy

      HotAir, Jesus said that we'd know them by their fruit. And Newt's fruit exposes him plainly to anyone who is well-versed in the gospel. Are you knowledgeable in the scriptures?

      December 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Nope! I shook off the childhood indoctrination many tears ago and see no reason to become more knowledgable or even read again a piece of poor fiction

      December 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  2. Neutron Grinch

    FIRE OBAMA IN 2012!

    December 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Joe

      You are living proof that God makes mistakes!

      December 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Oakydoke

      Yes...replace the pro-business liar that talks like a liberal with pro-business liar that talks like a conservative! So many choices in America...

      December 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  3. Neutron Grinch

    WHO IS YOUR PRESIDENT AND WHY IS OUR NATIONAL DEBT ABOUT 15 TRILLION???
    OBUMMER HAS RUN THAT DEBT UP TO MAX...WERE IT NOT FOR A DEBT CEILING LIMIT THAT WAS RECENTLY RAISED.
    OBUMMER WOULD HAVE SPENT MORE TRILLIONS...OBAMA IS A WALKING DISASTER.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Oakydoke

      Obama is our president, and our national debt was caused by mostly Republican presidents starting with Reagan: The inventor of the Trillion Dollar Debt. Any other questions?

      December 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Oakydoke

      The debt ceiling has been raised several times by presidents of both parties...do you have any points at all?

      December 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • knaraya936

      I'm more likely to believe that YOU are the walking disaster, Mr. Neutron Gingrich, and NOT President Obama. If it were not for Obama, we would be in a worse mess than Europe is in right now.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  4. Neutron Grinch

    WHO IS YOUR PRESIDENT RIGHT NOW....AND TELL ME WHAT HIS POLL #S ARE SHOWING, HA HA LOL.
    NEVER, HAS THE COUNTRY BEEN AS DIVIDED SINCE THE CIVIL WAR IN THE 1800'S, THAT'S HOW INEFFECTIVE AND DESTRUCTIVE YOUR CURRENT (LIBERAL SOCIALIST) PRESIDENT HAS BECOME. AND HE'S DOING IT ON PURPOSE.
    HOW CAN A HARVARD GRAD, THIS NO ONE, THIS NOTHING PERSON...HE HAS ACCOMPLISHED ZILCH AS PRESIDENT.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Joe

      I guess saving the auto industry, bringing this country back from the brink of a depression, national health care and killing Bin Laden is nothing. You are such an idiot it makes me laugh. This country is divided because idiot racists like you exist. Go away and take all those idiot candidates with you.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  5. Oakydoke

    When will he apologize for the Contract With America? He promised to balance the budget if elected in the 90's, then ran up the biggest debt of any Congress.before him. How about apologizing for writing the misnamed 'Obamacare'? He and the Neo-cons WROTE Obamacare in 1995 as a "Pro-Business alternative to the Clinton Health Care Plan." Gosh, whomever shall I vote for? The party at wrote Obamacare and then called it socialism, or the party who passed Obamacare and then called it liberalism? Anyone else figure out we are being DUPED?

    December 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  6. Neutron Grinch

    WHO IS THE PRESIDENT RIGHT NOW??? LOL
    EVEN LIBS KNOW WHAT HORRENDOUS JOB OBUMMER IS DOING, THAT THEY WANT GINGRICH TO WIN THE NOMINATION...BECAUSE IT WOULD TAKE THE LEAST EFFECTIVE REPUBLICAN FOR OBUMMER TO WIN.
    NO ONE, WHO IS DOING AS POORLY AS OBAMA IS DOING NOW...AND TRUST ME, YOUR PRESIDENT IS SO INEFFECTIVE, THIS GUY IS RUSHING OUT THE DOOR AT THE WHITE HOUSE, WANTS TO GINGRICH TO RUN.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Oakydoke

      Yeah, any prez that would pass Republican legislation like the health care plan is not to be trusted... Of course none of them can be trusted...

      December 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Joe

      Turn off your caps button, loser. No one is listening to you anyway.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  7. Butter

    This guy is a poster boy for hypocrisy. Newt Gingrich wouldn't know Jesus Christ if He walked in the front door with a name tag on.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Neutron Grinch

      A COMMENT THAT IS NOTHING, THAT MEANS NOTHING... TYPICAL LIB.
      WHO IS YOUR PRESIDENT? NO ONE KNOWS... OBUMMER IS RUINING, HAS RUINED THE COUNTRY.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Joe

      Jesus called me and told me NOT to vote for newt.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  8. Neutron Grinch

    Another story on Gingrich, this is CNN right???
    Who is the President right now? You mean Obummer and his approval/disapproval ratings are so high, and he is failing so much, that liberal media sources have to focus on Gingrich, Romney, Perry...we all see what libs did to Cain.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Joe

      CNN has a great sense of humor. That's why they printed a story about the newt. See you in 2016, maybe, loser!

      December 11, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Oakydoke

      The libs did to Cain?! LOL. His peepee did it for them. Thanks, we've already had a philandering liar as prez...

      December 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  9. minkypoo

    That is a quick conversion from Catholic to born again christian.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  10. Joe

    It blows my mind to read or listen to the rantings of the rebublican candidates. Even with all the racism in this country, we will still elect Obama next year. He's a wimp but he's so much more intelligent than anyone on the bad side! Unless Obama grows horns and a tail, he will be a shoe-in for another term.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Howard

      WELL ... AT LEAST OBAMA IS SMARTER THAN FOOLS LIKE YOU, WHO ACTUALLY BELIEVE HIS B.S. ...

      December 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  11. Metal

    he can never repent enough, he is just a power hungry politician pandering to evangelicals

    December 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  12. Ben

    Only a group of evangelicals can make me look on Newt with sympathy.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  13. Zia

    Didn't Mr. Gingrich say he was so caring for his job and country he didn

    December 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  14. drod3

    Gingrich – Flip flopping from Luthern, to Baptist to Catholic.Flip flopping from wife 1 to wife 2 to wife 3.
    Are conservative evangelicals going to sell their souls to the devil? Are true evangelicals going to be able to voice their displeasure over Gingrich before it's too late?

    December 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  15. Wayne

    He's had the motivation to repent, but I an't qualified to judge and don't know anyone, walking around breathing air, who might be. The Almighty hasn't shared his opinion with me so I'll have to credit Newt with his words. I do have a bit more respect for Newt than for the people asking this question and more faith in his ability to lead, from the front, than his opposition. At least, he's telling how he plans to lead instead of selling hope and change in a bottle or bashing his opponent for being to christian, not christian enough, or wishy-washy and we can hang our hats on the change he campaigns on. The man has a record of delivering.

    December 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • David

      "The man has a record of delivering." Hilarious. Delivering what, exactly? An impeachment witch hunt at taxpayers' expense? Gingrich has "delivered" nothing. Just because you and he are both conservative does not lend him any efficacy. Blinded by partisanship...

      December 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • knaraya936

      What this man has "DELIVERED" is basically several million dollars into his bank account after landing a peachy consulting contract with Fannie Mae, that "Government-Sponsored Enterprise" with so many political connections and payoffs that they alone brought the United States to its knees with the mortgage scandal, and is still holding that gun to the US's head if ANYONE DARES to limit Fannie Mae's reach into the cookie jar of taxpayer-funded bailouts. Newt and his supporters make me sick to my stomach.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  16. Truth Hurts

    Hysterical how the Christian Right will bend and contort to support such a flawed candidate, but not give an inch to a candidate like Romney or Obama because they don't align with, lets be honest, their political views. Neither Romney nor Obama have ever been accused of cheating on their spouses or anything of the sort. Yet take candidates like Cain and Newt and they want to painfully judge that these guys have sufficiently repented. Ethnic and religious bigotry is all.

    December 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Howard

      Obama spent TWENTY YEARS listening to his mentor, and spiritual advisor ... an anti-American, racist, scream 'God damn America' ... followed by lies and deception, while a biased media, and lots of money from who knows where, got him elected ... only to polarize America, cripple America's energy industry, squnder over 4 Trillion dollars in just 3 years, weaken our military, down grade our credit rating, increase unemployment, inflate our currency, cripple us at the check out stand and gas pump ... and fools like you want to focus on how many times Newt was married ??? Anyone would make a better President than obama ... and Newt has the smarts, experience, and patriotism, to restore America to the its former exceptionalism ... prior to all the destruction caused by obama !!!

      December 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Get Real

      Why is it we never hear ANYTHING from people who would have known Obama when he was a young man? Can you name anyone that says they knew him in college? Previous girlfriends? College class mates? We never hear a word from anyone that would have known him. Why????? Is he not from here?

      December 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Don't forget the Kennedy's and Clinton in extramarital affairs. Clinton still has a couple on them both and Keendy...well people stopped counting.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • jean2009

      @Howard so you want to post that old lie of Donald Trump's that got a "PANTS ON FIRE" from PolitiFact....and an out and out FALSE by FactCheck.org.

      Howard ever the lie posting troll.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • jean2009

      Howard...FYI Newtie bounced 22 checks on the Congressional Banking Account backed by taxpayers' money.
      He also hijacked funds from 2 non-profit charities, funds meant for helping poor intercity children to fund his campaign. That is a little more than shagging a young volunteer in his congressional office. He has the ethics of a pig....and that is an insult to pigs.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  17. drod3

    If Romney had won the Election against Kennedy he would have been a carrer politician.
    If he had been a historian he could have made 2 million with Fannie Mae.

    Gingrich (the 2 million dollar historian)

    December 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  18. truth squad

    Silly Newt, all he had to do was become a Democrat and all his "sins" would not only be forgiven but would never even be an issue in the first place.
    Liberal Political Orthodoxy beats any form of Religious Orthodoxy for double-standards, and strict adherance to the "word".
    As long as you toe-the-line on un-restricted access to fed funded abortion, gay rights, welfare and a foreign policy designed to win approval by Europe you can basically be any kind of person – of course you do have to use big words when you speak.

    December 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Joe

      Spoken like a true uneducated republican! Call us when you come up with a candidate!

      December 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    @Ungodly Discipline

    What is your belief?

    December 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      I believe I will go watch some football.

      December 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Get Real

      Go in peace my son.....go watch your football.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I believe I'll have a cookie.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  20. catwill

    This is quite scary the religous progression of a would be President. and what else will he change his mind about when it becomes convenient?

    December 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Charlie from the North

      Changing his mind is the least of our worries. At least if he changes his mind he might be right once in a while Way ahead of GW Bush on that front.No the problem is that he is the meanest SOB in a town known for meanness. That can't be changed.

      December 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Joe

      It doesn't matter what he does or says. He will never become the president. We cannot be so stupid as a people to elect him. We learned that lesson when we elected bush for the second term!

      December 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.