Photograph by John W. Adkisson/Getty Images.
More than 800,000 Iowa Republicans and independents reportedly got texts this week from an influential pastor in the state urging them to watch a video that dubs Newt Gingrich the "Kim Kardashian of the GOP." (Don't worry, we've embedded it below.)
Sioux City pastor Cary Gordon told Reuters that he was motivated to send out the text-message blitz because of his problems with Gingrich's past infidelities and because the former House speaker has not signed on to an Iowa evangelical group's sweeping marriage pledge that includes conservative positions on things like fidelity and same-sex unions.
Gordon sent a mass text to the same group last week with an endorsement of Rick Santorum, who is one of three GOP candidates to sign the Family Leader group's pledge. (The other two were Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.)
Just in case the Kardashian comparison wasn’t enough to drive home the point about fidelity (Gingrich had marriage problems!), the video also implies similarities between the GOP candidate and John Edwards (for the intersection of infidelity and terminal cancer), and President Obama (for perceived charisma without content). The video’s producer, Christian television and video maker Jason "Molotov" Mitchell, sums up his feelings pretty well with this quote: "I can’t stand Barack Obama, but at least he doesn’t trade in his wives like used cars."
In an early primary state seen as something of a bellwether for Evangelical GOP voting trends, the pastor’s stunt might indicate a stumbling block in Gingrich’s bid to fully overtake Mitt Romney as nominee frontrunner. In GOP debates this fall, Gingrich has faced relatively little scrutiny for his past, and Evangelical leaders have up until now been pretty quiet about his past infidelities. Gingrich has minimized some criticism by adopting the redemptive posture. He credits his current wife Callista, for initiating his conversion to Catholicism in the spring of 2009.
But that’s done little to allay the concerns of Gordon, who dreams of a Santorum-Bachmann ticket, or Mitchell, who describes himself as "a Ron Paul guy."
Mitchell’s been attracting media attention for his stunt-like videos since at least the start of the 2008 primary season. That’s when he produced viral attack video "A Video Portrait of Barack Hussein Obama," and a video in which a chef bakes a cookie in the shape of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, as a Wired blog details in a 2008 profile.
All right, we've kept you in suspense long enough. Here it is: