Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich expressed regret for making a commercial with fellow former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about climate change – a subject that is divisive among Republicans and especially Christians.
As he attempts to woo voters ahead of the 2012 presidential race, Gingrich said the meaning of the 2008 ad has been "misconstrued."
Gingrich told a WGIR Radio host Tuesday, "I was trying to make the point that we shouldn't be afraid to debate the left, even on the environment."
The video was part of the “We Can Solve It” campaign and produced by the Alliance for Climate Protection. In it, Gingrich says, “[W]e do agree, our country must take action to address climate change."
He adds, "If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation we need."
Gingrich makes no endorsement, but says he has been paying the price for the 30-second video on the campaign trail.
The video shows Gingrich and Pelosi sitting together on a couch in front of the Capitol building. Not only is Pelosi one of the most polarizing political figures among Republicans but the video's subject, climate change, is also a polarizing issue for conservatives.
A 2011 poll by Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service shows that 41 percent of Republicans believe that natural disasters are evidence of global climate change. But more than half of all Republicans (52 percent) believe that natural disasters are evidence of what the Bible calls "end times."
The Christian community is far more conflicted about climate change. Evangelical leaders have long spoken out against climate change legislation and environmentalism as the source of poverty and even as a secular form of religion.
Nearly six in 10 white evangelical respondents believe that natural disasters are signs from God. Still, 52 percent of evangelicals believe that global climate change is the cause of natural disasters such as the tsunami in Japan.
Gingrich, who is near the bottom of national polls, espouses an energy plan that is similar to most Republicans – a commitment to end government restrictions in oil drilling and exploring all available sources of American energy.
However, the video continues to hang over his head. For that reason, he told the host, "It's probably one of those things I wouldn't do again."