As Newt Gingrich keeps attacking Mitt Romney’s dishonesty — accurately, of course, but hypocritically — it turns out that his campaign has been lying about the support of prominent Florida pastors. Several ministers say they were announced as supporting Gingrich when they’d never even gotten a call from the campaign, much less agreed to endorse him.
On January 25, the Newt Gingrich campaign announced its Florida Faith Leaders Coalition, a group that “will spearhead faith outreach events and events leading up to the Florida primary and the general election.” On January 28, the campaign announced “nine new leaders for its Florida Faith Leaders Coalition.”
Gingrich has been reaching out for the votes of evangelicals, with appearances at three churches over the weekend, and an election day appearance at a Baptist church in Orlando that is serving as a polling place.
But three Florida pastors listed as members of the coalition tell me that they knew nothing about it, had not been contacted by the campaign, and had never agreed to serve in that capacity.
On Sunday, Pastor Scrivner Damon of New Life Community Church in North Palm Beach, who was listed on the January 28 announcement, looked at me, bewildered, when I asked him about the coalition. “Was I?” he asked, when I told him he was listed as a member. I showed him the announcement, and as he read it, he shook his head. “I have not done anything,” he said. “I haven’t even made up my mind who I’m going to vote for yet.”
When I called Pastor Doug Maners, of Catalyst Community Church in Orlando, who was also listed on the January 28 announcement, he laughed, and said, “I don’t think so. If I am, I didn’t know it.”
“I have not been involved at all,” said Maners. “I have some strong opinions, but most of the time I have to keep those to myself.”
When I asked Pastor Amar Rambissoon of Deeper Life Assembly in Orlando about being listed as a member of the Coalition, he said, “I am not aware of that.” Rambissoon said he had not been contacted by anyone from the Gingrich campaign.
Apparently they don’t have the eye of the tiger.