Opening Act: Newt, Newt, Newt

Opening Act: Newt, Newt, Newt

Opening Act: Newt, Newt, Newt

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 2 2011 8:12 AM

Opening Act: Newt, Newt, Newt

New from me at Slate: How evangelicals are convincing each other that Newt's okay.

On Monday night, after Gingrich and other Republicans bared all to a forum put on by the Iowa FAMiLY Leader (the group keeps the “I” lowercase to indicate submission to God), radio host Steve Deace shepherded a focus group of six men and five women. They liked Gingrich. They worried about his personal life. Ten of the 11 were so worried that they wondered why the FAMiLY Leader included him in the first place. At Deace’s website, Jen Green explained that the doubters worried about “the affairs and the seeming lack of public repentance for them,” and felt that Gingrich hadn’t “done enough to restore their faith in him."
They were accidentally disagreeing with Bob Vander Plaats, chief executive of the FAMiLY Leader. “There’s been a sincere life change for Newt Gingrich,” he says. “Now, if Newt would have had a Road to Des Moines conversion this year, it might be hard to take him seriously. But since four or five years ago, he’s shown a very transparent grace and maturity. He’s been married to Callista for over a decade. He’s healed his relationship with his children.”

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David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.