Huffpost Politics

Newt Gingrich Iowa Capitol Protests: Occupy Des Moines Drives GOP Candidate Out Of Building (VIDEO)

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Republican White House hopeful Newt Gingrich (C) leaves after a campaign event a grocery store in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, on December 20, 2011. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican White House hopeful Newt Gingrich (C) leaves after a campaign event a grocery store in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, on December 20, 2011. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Newt Gingrich's Wednesday visit to the Iowa Capitol building appears to have been far from welcoming.

The Des Moines Register reports that local Occupy Wall Street movement protesters drove the GOP presidential hopeful out of the facility. Chants ranged from "mic check" to "put people first" to "speaker Gingrich, you can run but you can't hide."

This was not the first instance of Occupy protesters disrupting a Gingrich Iowa appearance. Last week, the 99 percent dropped in on Newt's University of Iowa event, charging that he has a "callous attitude toward poor people."'

Some voters have made ruder taunts. On Tuesday, Iowa City local Tom Sorensen hurled obscenities at Gingrich during a grocery store campaign stop: "You know something? You're a f-cking a--hole," he said.

Gingrich initially appeared to be startled, but then recovered with a one-liner, saying, "Luckily, it's a free country."

On the kinder end of the spectrum, one pro-Gingrich voter broached the idea of an attitude change. HuffPost's Jon Ward chronicled how 31-year-old supporter Jenny Turner approached the former House Speaker on Tuesday. She pleaded with him to not be "arrogant and narcissistic," asking: "Do you feel like you need to be a little more humble to make it?"

Character questions aside, numbers are pointing toward Gingrich needing a boost to secure an Iowa caucus victory. Wednesday's We Ask America poll surveyed 1,250 likely Republican primary voters. The results show Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) emerging as a slim leader at 19 percent, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 18 percent. Gingrich has faded to third place with 16 percent, with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) gaining fresh momentum, at 15 percent.

 
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