When a man in a camouflage coat grabs your hand in an Iowa grocery store and calls you ‘a fucking asshole’ to your face, it might be time to take stock of your position in the state.
For Newt Gingrich, who was on the receiving end of the unorthodox greeting Tuesday, it was a sign that his campaign is returning to earth after having rocketed since Herman Cain’s collapse.
Back in May, Gingrich — who was then persona non grata in the GOP after he dinged Paul Ryan’s plan to eliminate Medicare as we know it — was similarly accosted by a regular Iowan when he took a trip through the state. At a campaign stop in Dubuque, a man stopped Gingrich, shook his hand and said “you’re an embarrassment to our party.”
Back then the clip was seen as a sign of how far Gingrich had fallen after the Ryan line — and how ridiculous the thought of him actually winning Iowa was. Between that clip and today’s “fucking asshole” moment at an Iowa grocery store, Gingrich has seen his fortunes rise during debate season, eventually leading to a frontrunner status and a brief moment where he led Iowa polls by double digits.
The idea of Gingrich winning the caucuses is certainly not as ridiculous as it was back in May, but it’s definitely increasingly unlikely. The negative ads have taken their toll and Gingrich’s unfavorables are on the rise. And so, once again, Gingrich found himself confronted by an average-looking Iowan as he tries to stump across the state.
Here’s the moment, from CNN:
Details on the grocery store heckler from CNN’s Shawna Shepherd:
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.