Heckler At Gingrich Rally Removed By Cops; Staffer Strikes Photographer

[warning: NSFW language]

Politics in Florida is a rough business, for sure, but this incident seems a bit over the top. The video is a little rough to watch, but worth it. There's clearly a heckler, who isn't shy about correcting some of Newt's more "grandiose" statements. She began by challenging him about his Freddie Mac associations and then the crowd just started in on her.

Via Daily Beast

The woman kept shouting, and Gingrich implored her to give others a chance to hear him. But Jennings kept it up, and Gingrich continued engaging her.

“Nothing you say is true,” he said with a tight smile, as 1,200 people cheered him on. “Noise without knowledge does not make a free society.”

Meanwhile, two local supporters descended on the woman, one being Karen Hoffman, a Tea Party activist, who told reporters not to pay attention to Jennings. Yeah, right.

Hoffman also called for the police to silence Jennings. A few feet away, a man attending the rally helpfully started shouting, “You’re an imbecile. Get out of here!” At this point, if Jennings hadn’t completely disrupted the rally, the supporter was doing his best to finish the job.

Finally, the police officers resorted to begging her to stop heckling.

“Are you going to arrest me?” Jennings asked. “I still have more to say.”

As Jennings was being escorted out, Karin Hoffman, a tea partier and head of DC Works For Us decided to take things a step farther and shoved a photographer's camera in his face, just because she could, evidently. Oh, she also happens to be one of the organizers of the Tea Party For Newt groups, playing a role in Florida which is similar to the one Judson Phillips, head of Tea Party Nation, is playing in other southern states.

I guess thuggery knows no gender, as long as she can talk tough to hecklers and push photographers around. But I thought tea partiers were all about liberty and the First Amendment and the Constitution and things. I guess that's only true when it's about their liberty to shove photographers and call people names? With two cops right there, one wonders why Ms. Hoffman wasn't escorted out.

For all of the banter lately about the death and irrelevance of the tea party, I can't help but wonder. There's a tone that seems to be ramping up right alongside Newt Gingrich's surge, a tone that reminds me of the 2009 town halls, the violent rhetoric, and the surging wave of angry people who aren't sure why they're angry beyond knowing they want that black guy out of the Oval Office sooner rather than later. The Occupy movement had drowned them out quite nicely for awhile, but with the help of Fox News and a nice infusion of cash into the southern states, they seem to be gaining traction again.

I don't think it's my imagination, but I sure hope Newt's "surge" ends right after he tosses the Republican establishment into utter panic and disarray by winning Florida and Nevada.

Here's one other thing. I wonder how Newt's "shadow campaign" organized by his SuperPAC plays into Hoffman's participation. Food for thought, and further investigation.

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