On the trail in New Hampshire: Tilting at windmills with Newt Gingrich

posted at 1:40 pm on January 9, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I only made it to one campaign event thanks to a nasty head cold, which is why I didn’t write about this Newt Gingrich event on Sunday.  The title of the event intrigued me — a “Hispanic town hall” event held at Don Quijotes, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Manchester.  The idea of a Hispanic town hall in New Hampshire seemed a little puzzling, but not as puzzling as the venue itself once I arrived.  The area of the restaurant only allowed for 50 or so seats, hardly an efficient use of two hours of candidate time on a Sunday.  The media area was even smaller; I arrived early and got a chair and table near the window and with a clear sight line to the dais — until a couple of videographers blocked the view altogether, as the media area was even smaller than that for the “real people,” as Newt himself distinguished the attendees later.

At least, though, I thought I could hear the event and report via Twitter, rather than shoot some video.  I was wrong, as my old friend Jonathan Last explains for the Weekly Standard in a delightfully accurate report called “The Siege of Newt“:

Outside Don Quijote’s, a group of Occupy Wall Streeters had massed. After milling about for some time, they decided to protest more actively. So they came up to the restaurant and banged on their drums and tapped on the windows. Gingrich gamely soldiered on, segueing into Lean Six Sigma and job creation. Then Vermin Supreme started in. …

Normally, Vermin Supreme is content hanging around outside campaign events chit-chatting and being wacky. But on Sunday, he brought his megaphone. And as Gingrich spoke and the Occupiers drummed, Vermin Supreme placed his bullhorn up against the window glass and began saying:

Newt. Newt. Newt. Newt. Surrender. We have you surrounded. Newt. Newt. Newt. Newt. Come out with your hands up and your pants down. Newt. Newt. Newt. Newt.

Even inside the building, standing about 35 feet from Gingrich, his badgering was loud. You might be surprised at how long a man could carry on like that—repeating the same stanza, over and over and over again, in the same monotonously addled cadence. I would have thought that even a fellow like Vermin Supreme might get tired of it after ten or fifteen minutes. Turns out, I was wrong.

The pushing started, then. The Occupiers were massing another force near the front door when others began pulling at one of the side doors, trying to get in. What with struggling to breach the keep, the drumming, and the incantations, the entire thing reminded me of the siege of Helm’s Deep. Only with smellier orcs.

If Jonathan thinks it was bad where he was, he should have swapped places with me.  Unfortunately, my coveted chair and table were the closest to the window at which Vermin Supreme pointed his megaphone:

The Occupy protesters gathered outside the window, including a drummer, but they didn’t appear to number larger than 20, and would have been no issue at all had it not been for the bullhorn.  The other two print reporters near me at the window fumed at the interference, but it got worse.  A couple of videographers from the media pool decided to get more footage of Vermin Supreme after he had walked away by tapping on the window to encourage him to return — which, of course, he did, bullhorn in hand.

As Jonathan also relates, the event didn’t go smoothly for Newt, either.  Despite this being billed as a Hispanic town hall, Gingrich’s remarks didn’t sound all that different than from other events.  It took him a few minutes to get to immigration, for instance, after talking about health care and economics, stating specifically on the latter that it was an issue that went well beyond the Hispanic community.  On immigration, Gingrich insisted that “Border security comes first,” adding that “we have a moral obligation” to help Mexico defeat drug cartels.   ”I’ve taken some heat,” Gingrich said, for proposing “a series of steps” to establishing a guest-worker program with a credential-verification system similar to “Visa, Mastercard, American Express.”  In answer to a question on the DREAM Act, Gingrich replied, “DREAM Act? There are parts of it I like, not automatic citizenship.”

The questions got very contentious, though.  Jonathan has more on the overall flavor of the dialogue, but it was hardly friendly.  One African-American voter said that Gingrich had implied that all black people were on welfare, and said his remark was akin to something Adolf Hitler would have made about the Jews.  Gingrich responded forcefully that his remarks had been misquoted, especially by Democrats. “The DNC took half of a sentence totally out of context,” Gingrich replied,  ”I said putting PEOPLE on paychecks.”  Still, Newt seemed to enjoy the challenge of the Q&A, and still got his talking points through the hostile questions.  He returned to the issue of anti-Christian hostility in the media and government, saying “It is fundamentally wrong to have government literally make the practice of religion illegal” in the name of diversity.

At the end, the crowd seemed anything but hostile.  They mobbed Gingrich for handshakes and pictures, which went on for so long that the press avail later got moved twice, postponed, and then reinstated, which I ended up missing in the end.


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Via Drudge: Todd Palin endorses Newt.

Good bye, Newt, it’s been real.

NickDeringer on January 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Just another establishment poeser…get lost Newt…

Makes me sick all this yammering about the ‘rights’ of the Illegals, darn it, they have NO rights!!

Scrumpy on January 9, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Their armor is weak at the neck when engaged with rational thought, and below the arms when approached with facts about reality and economics

FIF Legolas

Atlas on January 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Ed…It’s about time you woke up.

dhugh on January 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM

As Jonathan also relates, the event didn’t go smoothly for Newt, either. Despite this being billed as a Hispanic town hall, Gingrich’s remarks didn’t sound all that different than from other events

God forbid we treat Hispanic as if they are people interested in anything other than immigration, like jobs, schools, the debt, etc.

cpaulus on January 9, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Newt is a much smarter and more articulate bully than Christie ever thought of being. Of all the candidates, Newt would do much better against Obama. He would run a take no prisoners campaigh against the silly journolistas and Obama.

they lie on January 9, 2012 at 1:51 PM

God forbid we treat Hispanic as if they are people interested in anything other than immigration, like jobs, schools, the debt, etc.

cpaulus on January 9, 2012 at 1:49 P
———————————————————————

Gracias
. You are 100% right. That was one of the reasons I was attracted to the GOP. It was nice to be regarded as a thinker, not a piece of voting property.

princetrumpet on January 9, 2012 at 1:53 PM

How come the OWS people are only around at Republican events?
One of them probably made Ed sick!

KOOLAID2 on January 9, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Well it was Sunday and the OWSers had little to do–so why not. That stupid vermin idiot gives us all a bad name. What a fool…so that’s what the media chose to focus on. Perhaps some family member should revoke his pass to leave the nursing home. Bah!

jeanie on January 9, 2012 at 1:54 PM

I live in seacoast NH and can tell you that Portsmouth and Exeter where Christie had to deal with hecklers are major moon bat centers. Massholes.

philw1776 on January 9, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Newt is a much smarter and more articulate bully than Christie ever thought of being. Of all the candidates, Newt would do much better against Obama. He would run a take no prisoners campaigh against the silly journolistas and Obama.

they lie on January 9, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Hey, what could be wrong with Romney… He got Bob Dole’s endorsement. John McCain loves him. The Vatican likes him. He invented “Obamacare”.

Why would we want to have anyone who was articulate, aggressive and had a track record of changing government? Especially if he wasn’t nice to “media”?

Ed, when you start repeating the MSM’s memes then you might consider either taking that AP job, or getting a real one.

CrazyGene on January 9, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Newt is a much smarter and more articulate bully than Christie ever thought of being. Of all the candidates, Newt would do much better against Obama. He would run a take no prisoners campaigh against the silly journolistas and Obama.

they lie on January 9, 2012 at 1:51 PM

I agree.

BuckeyeSam on January 9, 2012 at 1:57 PM

How come the OWS people are only around at Republican events?

KOOLAID2 on January 9, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Exactly what Democratic campaign events would you like them to attend? The much-heralded “Obama-Vermin Supreme” debate?

JohnGalt23 on January 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Newt for Press Secretary!

Lily on January 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Via Drudge: Todd Palin endorses Newt.

Good bye, Newt, it’s been real.

NickDeringer on January 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Huh…where have you been the last 4 years?

Any Palin support on the GOP side is a good one.

Oh..yeah..John McCain is better. Right “hobitts”?

coach1228 on January 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

I would like to have one of those bullhorns. They look like fun.

a capella on January 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Well it was Sunday and the OWSers had little to do–so why not. That stupid vermin idiot gives us all a bad name. What a fool…so that’s what the media chose to focus on. Perhaps some family member should revoke his pass to leave the nursing home. Bah!

jeanie on January 9, 2012 at 1:54 PM

So you’re one of those addle-brained cretins, eh? Sunday with nothing to do? How ’bout gathering to hound and berate Obama, Reid, Wasserman-Schultz, etc – you know, the people who *are* screwing things up, rather than the ones trying to fix it?

OWS is entirely peopled with contemptible nitwits.

Midas on January 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Exactly what Democratic campaign events would you like them to attend? The much-heralded “Obama-Vermin Supreme” debate?

JohnGalt23 on January 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Pick an Obama-scheduled event, any of them, for a good start.

Midas on January 9, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Newt is a much smarter and more articulate bully than Christie ever thought of being. Of all the candidates, Newt would do much better against Obama. He would run a take no prisoners campaigh against the silly journolistas and Obama.

they lie on January 9, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Yeap…!

Seven Percent Solution on January 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

coach1228 on January 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

I’ve been right here. More than half of Palin’s endorsed candates lost their races. Where have you been??

NickDeringer on January 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Ed,
Stay away from OWS. Crapping, TB and all…

antisocial on January 9, 2012 at 2:09 PM

MIDAS Wow–I knew I was a lousy typist but I guess worse than I thought. NOT an OWSer, but glad to give you a moments fun jumping to conclusions.

jeanie on January 9, 2012 at 2:10 PM

“Hispanic town hall” at a Tex-Mex restaurant?

EddieC on January 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM

“Hispanic town hall” at a Tex-Mex restaurant?

EddieC on January 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Why not. Tejas was once a part of Mexico. It was also once a part of France but we don’t talk about that.

This is outreach you can believe in, yessir.

CorporatePiggy on January 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM

How come the OWS people are only around at Republican events?

KOOLAID2 on January 9, 2012 at 1:53 PM
Exactly what Democratic campaign events would you like them to attend? The much-heralded “Obama-Vermin Supreme” debate?

JohnGalt23 on January 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM

For starters….where JugEars plays golf!
Plenty of opportunity there!

KOOLAID2 on January 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

CorporatePiggy on January 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Texas Under Spain. 1519-1685; 1690-1821.

Texas Under France. 1685-1690

Texas Under Mexico. 1821-1836

Texas as a Republic. 1836-1845

Texas in the Confederacy. 1861-1865

Texas in the US. 1845-1861; 1865-Present

6 flags flown over Texas.

workingclass artist on January 9, 2012 at 2:40 PM

I hope you get better soon, Ed.

thuja on January 9, 2012 at 2:51 PM

There are laws against how the OWS are interrupting Republican speakers. They should be enforced!

thuja on January 9, 2012 at 2:53 PM

I’ve been right here. More than half of Palin’s endorsed candates lost their races. Where have you been??

NickDeringer on January 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Your math skills suck. Find a pill that can cure your PDS so you don’t sound so stupid on these threads.

Palin endorsed 64 candidates in 2010 and 43 won.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/palin_tracker/

CTSherman on January 9, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Obama was also heckled at a school in NH where he was giving a speech.

residentblue on January 9, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Which Republican candidate the OWS protestors protest the most might tell us something about who the Dems most want to stop.

Charm on January 9, 2012 at 3:07 PM

The substance of the article, to me, does not match the negative headline. Is this more of HA’s Bash-Newt theme?

GaltBlvnAtty on January 9, 2012 at 3:10 PM

The substance of the article, to me, does not match the negative headline. Is this more of HA’s Bash-Newt theme?

GaltBlvnAtty on January 9, 2012 at 3:10 PM

It’s a reference to Don Quixote, and to the hostile nature of the environment that Newt faced.

Ed Morrissey on January 9, 2012 at 4:12 PM

http://thecompetentconservative.com/hypocrite-making-a-fool-of-himself-again/

The Newtron on Romney!

Gunlock Bill on January 9, 2012 at 4:25 PM

I am sure the coveted Todd Palin endorsement will save Gingrich. Sarah’s might give him a bump but it seems like she is waiting for him to be run out of the race before she actually endorses him. I don’t want to hear about or from her ever again.

echosyst on January 9, 2012 at 4:54 PM