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Rick Perry heckled over gays in military campaign ad

December 11, 2011|By Paul West
(Matthew Putney/Getty Images )

Reporting from Ames, Iowa — Rick Perry took another shot at Mitt Romney's offer of a $10,000 bet, but the Texas governor found himself under fire himself Sunday, heckled at a campaign stop over anti-gay bias, including by a man identifying himself as a Marine veteran from the Iraq war.

The heckling followed Perry's brief remarks to Iowa voters at a coffee shop in downtown Ames.

"Why are you demonizing gay and lesbian people?" shouted one heckler.

"Why can't gays compete in the military?" chimed in Jason Arment, 24, an English major at nearby Iowa State University. Arment, of Grimes, Iowa, who said he was straight, said he served with the Marines in Iraq in 2007 and 2008,

Perry is airing a campaign ad, aimed at evangelical Christians in Iowa, in which he says that “there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” Sunday marked the first time the candidate was confronted over the ad on the trail. (Watch Perry's ad below.)

Arment, in a brief interview, said that he found the Perry ad "extremely offensive" and "insulting" to service members.

The governor did not respond to the hecklers and left the coffee shop shortly afterward. 

On his way out, Perry told reporters that he found it "a little out of the ordinary" that Romney had extended his hand and offered a $10,000 wager that his campaign book did not contain a line about making the Massachusetts healthcare mandate a model for the nation, as Perry had claimed in the televised debate.

Repeating a line that he used earlier in the day on Fox News Sunday, Perry said that such a large wager is "way out of the ordinary for most Iowans. To have an extra $10,000 that you would throw down on a bet is a little out of the ordinary."

"I'm not a betting man. so it was no harm, no foul from my perspective," the governor added. "I would suggest to you that $10,000 is pocket change for Mitt to make that statement. But you'll need to ask him, you know. Maybe it was just a misstatement or something. Who knows?"

paul.west@latimes.com

 

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