Ames, Iowa (CNN) – A day after a debate that saw much of the GOP field gang up on front-runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry largely avoided the debate's big issues while continuing his Iowa push Sunday afternoon at Café Diem in Ames.
Although Perry is clearly making a big finish in the first caucus state a key part of his campaign strategy, he chose not to pander to the local crowd.
"I'm for pulling all of those tax credits, or subsidies or however you refer to them out of the energy industry," Perry said. "Whether it's ethanol, whether it's oil and gas or what have you, the market will decide where to go. I am not worried in the least that Iowa farmers [will suffer], if we'll get the EPA and regulations out of their business."
But his attempt to turn this tough talk into an attack on the current administration came with a few of the verbal misstatements that have plagued other public appearances by Perry. While criticizing President Barack Obama for picking winners and losers in the energy industry, he bungled the name of the most famous energy company to go under despite government assistance.
"No greater example of it than this administration sending millions of dollars into the solar industry, and we lost that money," Perry began. "I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solynda."
Solyndra, a company which manufactured high-tech solar energy panels, went bankrupt this year after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees.
As he left the stage, Perry was confronted by several hecklers scattered around the room. The closest was Warren Blumenfeld, who teaches a gay studies course at nearby Iowa State University. Blumenfeld got quite close to the governor while yelling, "Why are you marginalizing people in this country? Why are you demonizing gay and lesbian people?"
Perry ignored Blumenfeld's shouts as he signed autographs and moved toward the rear exit of the crowded Ames coffee shop. As the crowd began to drown out Blumenfeld with applause, a man in the back of the room also began yelling about Perry's opposition to gay and lesbians serving openly in the United States military.
"Why can't gays compete in the military?" yelled 24-year-old Marine Corps veteran Jason Arment.
His calls for openness in the military attracted some jeers and retorts from members of the crowd nearby, but were largely ignored by Perry.