Newt Gingrich tells gay Iowa man to vote for Obama

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Newt Gingrich must be feeling pretty confident these days, after his improbable, Lazarus-like comeback in the GOP presidential sweepstakes. He knows that when some of his fellow contenders start dropping, he'll pick up even more steam. So maybe that explains why, at a coffee-house event in Oskaloosa, Iowa on Tuesday, Gingrich had no problem telling an attendee to support President Obama

According to Scott Arnold, associate professor of writing at William Penn University, who's a Democrat, and gay:

"I asked him, if he's elected, how does he plan to engage gay Americans. How are we to support him? And he told me to support Obama."

Gingrich may have more baggage than Louis Vuitton, but his grand ideas have captivated supporters willing to overlook his past misdeeds and prickly reputation. (Also, Mitt Romney is a stiff.) And Gingrich is indeed a strong debater, never reluctant to show off his extensive historical knowledge.

But it's well known that his own half-sister, Candace Gingrich-Jones, is a lesbian, and has said that she plans to support Obama. (Must be some Thanksgiving dinner.) So it's a little troubling that Gingrich said in September:

"I believe that marriage is between a man and woman. It has been for all of recorded history and I think this is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it just fundamentally goes against everything we know."

It's understood that, regardless of personal beliefs, a candidate is expected to hew closely to the party line. But it seems cold that Gingrich would so alienate his own happily-married family member due to naked political calculation. (Remember, Gingrich has been married three times.) Anyway, it will probably be a moot point, as the Republican base perceives Mitt Romney as being more electable in the long run. Then Newt won't have to deal with any more of this.

Arnold, who said he came to the event with an open mind, lamented:

"When you ask somebody a question and you expect them to support all Americans and have everyone's general interest, it's a little bit frustrating and disheartening when you're told to support the other side. That he doesn't need your support."