The Newt Gingrich campaign on Wednesday denied reports that he said gay voters should support President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

Gingrich made the comment during an event Tuesday at Smokey Row coffee house in Oskaloosa.

Scott Arnold, a Democrat and an associate professor at William Penn University, told the Des Moines Register that when he approached Gingrich on the topic of gay rights, the former House speaker told him to vote for Obama.

“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,” Arnold said.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said Gingrich was only referring to voters who view gay marriage as a central issue, not all gay people.

“As you can see from the transcript and video, Gingrich was saying that he plans to talk to all Americans about jobs, national security, creating a better future for America and many issues,” Hammond said in a statement released to the Des Moines Register. “He did say that for voters whose most important issue was allowing gays the right to marry, that it was legitimate for them to support Obama for president.”

The complete transcript:

Scott Arnold: My question is, how do you plan to engage such a large community of people, who, on this one specific issue, do not support you – may agree with you on the other parts of what you stand for – but how do you plan to engage and get the help of gay Americans and those who support them?

Speaker Gingrich: I think, for those for whom the only issue that really matters is the definition of marriage, I won't get their support, and I accept that that's a reality. On the other hand, for those for whom it's not the central issue in their life, if they care about job creation, if they care about national security, if they care about a better future for the country at large, then I think I'll get their support.

Arnold: So what if it is the biggest issue?

Gingrich: Then I won't get their support.

Arnold: Then how do we engage if you're elected, then what, what does that mean?

Gingrich: Then you engage in every topic except that. I mean ...

Arnold: Except the one that's the most important?

Gingrich: If that is the most important to you ...

Arnold [interrupting]: — to many millions of people.

Gingrich: Well, if that's the most important to you, then you should be for Obama.

Arnold: Okay.

Gingrich: I think that's perfectly legitimate.

Arnold: I am, but thank you.

Gingrich: Yeah, I think that's perfectly legitimate. [Gingrich smiles and shakes Arnold's hand.]