Protesters disrupt Gingrich press conference
Protesters loudly interrupted Newt Gingrich twice as he accepted endorsements from Iowa and New Hampshire state party leaders at a press conference on Wednesday, clapping and chanting “put people first” before being hustled out of the room by security officers.
“He’s not welcome here in Iowa until he starts representing everyday people and hardworking families and the 99 percent,” said David Goodner, one of the protesters, of the group Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund. “We’re going to keep getting in his face until he starts changing his policies,” he said.
The protests began just as Gingrich took the podium. The candidate stopped and turned to watch as guards surrounded the protesters and pushed some of them outside.
“I’ll talk outside. As soon as this press conference is over, I’ll talk to you,” Gingrich said to one of them after a second interruption, appearing unruffled by the shouting.
Gingrich said he had been interrupted before, and that the protesters represented “one-tenth of one percent,” a reference to the “we are the 99 percent” slogan of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
At the news conference, Gingrich accepted endorsements from Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen and New Hampshire Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien.
“We cannot afford candidates who put electoral convenience or extreme ideology ahead of bringing transformative change that will restore America’s place in the world,” O’Brien said.
The protesters followed Gingrich down the marble halls of the Iowa Capitol after the press conference, shouting loudly at him as a group of camera operators and journalists trailed behind.
Jessica Reznicek, of the group Occupy Des Moines, said the protest aimed to bring attention to their objectives for economic reforms and a fairer political process.
“We’re not millionaires, we don’t have the money that it takes to have all these cameras pointing in our face,” said Reznicek, a college student from Indianola.
Reznicek said her group would protest at the campaigns of all the presidential candidates.