Newt Gingrich can't seem to catch a break this week.
The Republican presidential candidate, seeing his lead in the polls whither away amid a barrage of attack ads, was receiving an endorsement from Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulson Wednesday when protesters tried to co-opt the event, chanting, "Put people first."
About a dozen protesters from Occupy Des Moines and the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement asked Gingrich about his campaign finances and how he would represent the country's working class, protester Hugh Espey told amNewYork.
"He supports government of, by and for corporations. ... We saw Gingirch as kind of the messenger for the 1%," Espey said. "We wanted to make sure that he heard from us loud and clear."
The protesters were all removed from the news conference at the state capitol, and Gingrich tried to play down their chants.
Credit: WHO TV
"My experience campaigning through Iowa and New Hampshire was that you just saw one-tenth of 1%," he said, adding, "All noise, no thought."
Although Gingrich said he would be "glad" to talk to the protesters outside the news conference, the former House speaker quickly brushed them off, making a beeline for his car.
Gingrich and his wife, Callista, "briskly" made their way down the steps of the capital building and out to a waiting van, ignoring the protesters questions.
Espey pointed out that protesters in Iowa were holding demonstrations against both Republicans and Democrats.
"We feel that both political parties are part of the problem," he said. "We are demanding that political leaders and political parties start representing the 99% and not kowtowing to the 1%."
Gingrich's office did not return messages for comment.
Follow reporter Marc Beja on Twitter: @marc_beja