Gingrich faces tough talk from Iowans
December 20th, 2011
05:05 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich faces tough talk from Iowans

Mount Pleasant, Iowa (CNN) – A couple Iowans weren't afraid to tell Newt Gingrich what they thought of him during his first campaign stop Tuesday at a local Hy-Vee grocery store.

Thirty-one-year-old Jenny Taylor is a "big fan" of the former House speaker but she doesn't think the Republican presidential candidate conveys enough humility.

"Do you think that somehow you're viewed as, and I mean this in the nicest way, as perhaps narcissistic or arrogant?" she asked Gingrich. "Do you think that? Do you feel that?"

"No, I don't. First of all, I work really, really hard and I need your help. I say that to everybody. I'm aware that I can only lead if people in fact want to be a part of where we are going. So I try very hard to reach out," Gingrich said.

The former speaker said he is assertive and added, "Sometimes when you're a little bit too assertive it's not too smart."

Their frank conversation followed a question and answer session with people inside the packed cafe area of the store.

Mount Pleasant resident Taylor stood up and told Gingrich she thought it was presumptuous of him to declare weeks ago during an ABC interview that he was going to be the nominee. Gingrich has since walked away from that comment.

"I used to be an analyst at Fox and every once in a while a reporter will ask me an analytical question and I'll forget I'm not an analyst, I'm a candidate," Gingrich said. "This will be decided by the American people, this will not be decided by any one person and that's what I should have said, and I wasn't very clever."

Taylor told reporters she wants to vote for Gingrich but is considering Mitt Romney, who her husband Ryan supports. They're worried Gingrich will not be able to "win the hearts of the American people."

Taylor said of Gingrich, "I'm voting for him with my heart but Mitt Romney's in the back of my head."

After their conversation, the former speaker thanked Taylor for her honesty. He worked the room signing autographs and asking people for their help and for their vote.

Just inside the grocery store next to Christmas displays, Tom Sorensen of Iowa City confronted the White House hopeful.

"We shook hands, I looked him in the eye and told him what I thought," said Sorensen, who called Gingrich an obscene name.

Sorensen, who is not sure who he's going to vote for, said he thinks Gingrich "represents everything that's bad about politics."

Gingrich, calmly said to him, "Well, luckily it's a free country" and moved onto the next handshake and plea for another vote.

– Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN.

Also see:

Bachmann: I'm not a politician, don't even know how to be one

Romney, on Letterman show, jokes about hair, Newt Gingrich

Perry: Romney and Gingrich backed the 'biggest act of theft in American history'


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Joe Sixpack

    Do we really want a president named "Newt"? "Newt" is the name of a cute, but developmentally disabled child who tells knock-knock jokes and eats paste.

    December 21, 2011 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  2. American Citizen

    I want that man who cussed at Gingrich to know that he is the only person I was interested in listening to – he represents the majority of United States citizens who bleed, labor, and work this land every damned day – you keep it up and you speak your mind to these greedy, self-centered low lives – they ARE lower than you are and never forget that. Any piece of crap like those sitting at Capitol Hill who think that they should live the lives of the noble at your expense are just what this man so correctly and concisely expressed.

    Thank you, Sir.

    December 21, 2011 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  3. YW8

    Wire–you're absolutely right. Huckabee won the last Republican primary. I don't know why anyone even pays attention to who the Iowans vote for.

    December 21, 2011 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  4. THETERP

    "NEWT THE DICTATOR"! Got quite a ring to ti. Couldn't it be that some judges, not all, make the right decision and shouldn't be brought before him just because it isn't his way of thinking. Pure Intimidation, next he'll be waterboarding them.

    December 21, 2011 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
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