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Protesters occupy Newt Gingrich's fundraiser

December 08, 2011|By James Oliphant
(Chris Keane / Reuters )

Newt Gingrich witnessed the Occupy movement up close and personal Wednesday night.

Protesters crashed his presidential fundraiser at a restaurant next to the storied Willard InterContinental Hotel in downtown D.C., about a baseball’s throw from the White House.

According to reports, only a handful of protesters were able to enter the hotel and none of them made it to Gingrich. Instead, they held a rally outside and peered through the restaurant's glass windows as Gingrich met with members of Congress and lobbyists seeking contributions to help him fuel is newfound Newtmentum.

The protests are part of weeklong protests, dubbed "Take Back the Capitol," by activists and labor unions, who have conducted sit-ins at congressional offices and on Wednesday shut down busy K Street in downtown Washington, a street synonymous with the lobbying trade.

To put it mildly, Gingrich has not been a fan of the Occupy movement, viewing protesters with a get-off-my-lawn disdain. Last month at a presidential forum in Iowa, he told them to “go get a job.”

“Right after you take a bath,” he added.

“They take over a public park they didn’t pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park so that they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything,” the GOP presidential contender said.

Gingrich held the $1,000-a-plate fundraiser as his campaign is trying to become a national organization—and pay off all its debts. He received an endorsement Thursday from Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, making him one of the handful of members of Congress to support the former House speaker.

Mitt Romney continues to dwarf Gingrich in terms of congressional endorsements by more than a five-to-one ratio.

Here’s a video shot by one of the protesters at the Gingrich fundraiser:

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