Liberty U. Helps Newt in Iowa

Liberty U. Helps Newt in Iowa January 6, 2012

Liberty University has been running ads in Iowa that are supposedly intended to recruit new students but feature Newt Gingrich praising the university. But this is purely coincidental that it just happens to be right before the Iowa caucuses in which Gingrich is running.

LU says the ad is a commercial for the school, not Gingrich or his campaign, and is just one part of the university’s larger national marketing strategy.

But other sources suggest the ad’s timing and prominent showcasing of Gingrich was an attempt to boost the former House speaker’s profile in Iowa for the caucus.

The New York Times’ political blog, The Caucus, reported that Gingrich’s cash-strapped campaign was getting an assist from “well-financed allies” in the form of LU and the conservative magazine Newsmax, which aired a 30-minute special about Gingrich over the weekend.

While neither TV spot carried an express endorsement for Gingrich, The Caucus said both had “pro-Gingrich messages” and “appeared intended to help the former House speaker win the caucuses,” which Iowa will hold tonight.

And Mat Staver, the dumbest lawyer in America not named Larry Klayman (aka the dumbest lawyer in America not named Mat Staver), says this is not at all a threat to their tax exempt status:

As a tax-exempt institution, LU is barred from campaigning for political candidates. But Mat Staver, dean of LU’s law school, said he’s confident the ad is on sound footing.

“The ad is not designed to endorse Newt or anyone else,” Staver said in an interview Monday. “…We’re not speaking about his positions. We’re not comparing him to another candidate. We’re not promoting his election.”

“In fact, it’s to the contrary,” he said. “Rather than Liberty endorsing Newt Gingrich, Newt Gingrich is speaking favorably about Liberty.”

Yeah, this is totally not a signal to the predominately religious right Republicans in Iowa that Gingrich is one of them and it’s okay to vote for them. Nothing to see here. Move along.

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  • StevoR

    Iowa? But that’s all been and gone, right?

    Plus it didn’t help Newt much going on the results he got.

  • Yeah, this is totally not a signal to the predominately religious right Republicans in Iowa that Gingrich is one of them and it’s okay to vote for them. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    This is highly reminiscent of their creationism shenanigans. They seem to think that all they have to do is say that it’s not religiously motivated, and they’ve got perfect legal cover. Even if they’ve explicitly said the opposite somewhere else. I suppose it’s part of their larger pathology of thinking that reality is something they can bend with words alone.

  • jakc

    The ads didn’t get as heavy an airing as the anti-Newt ads, but seemed to run as often as his own ad buys. My question is did Newt get paid for endorsing Libertarian U?

  • jakc

    Also – are the ads following Newt’s campaign? If you could track them that way, it would be a pretty clear indication of Liberty & Newt.

  • Didaktylos

    Any truth in the rumour that Gingrich cheats at Solitaire?

  • exdrone

    Liberty U should be more concerned that their law school’s coop program went down the drain after Bush left office. They might be better off endorsing a likely winner if they have any hope for their grads.

  • Didaktylos, he used to, but that was because he loved America too much.

  • dan4

    @3 “Libertarian U…”

    Liberty University is NOT libertarian; in fact, Staver is actually on record criticizing libertarianism.

  • MikeMa

    @dan4

    Of all the criticism possible of LU, that they are NOT libertarian is the mildest of chastisements. Crappy law, crappy judgement, crappy morals, lousy lawyers produced.