About 100 “Occupy Des Moines” activists protested outside a Des Moines church Saturday as six GOP presidential candidates gathered inside for a discussion about values and their faith. Newt Gingrich ridiculed the protesters during the “Thanksgiving Family Forum” at First Federated Church.
“All the occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything,” Gingrich said. “They take over a public park they didn’t pay for to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn’t pay for…to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and sustain the park so they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything.”
Gingrich suggested “Occupy Wall Street” was an example of how what he calls “the left” has collapsed the country’s moral system.
“We need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, ‘Go get a job right after you take a bath,'” Gingrich said, to applause from the church crowd.
Herman Cain has also been a critic of “Occupy Wall Street” and he was the only other candidate to comment on the topic Saturday night.
“Freedom without responsibility is immoral,” Cain said, getting a loud, “Yeah,” from a woman in the crowd before the audience started applauding. “And that’s what they were doing on Wall Street.”
Atheists also protested outside the church where the Republican candidate forum was staged.
Some “Occupy Des Moines” protesters picketed outside Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines where the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual fall fundraiser was held Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, a high-profile member of the “Occupy Des Moines” movement issued a public apology after an “occupy” event at a bank late last week led to his arrest for trespassing, along with drug-related charges for marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession. David Goodner, an organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, plans to plead guilty to the charges and seek substance abuse treatment. Goodner sent an email Sunday morning to his fellow “Occupy Des Moines” protesters, apologizing for his “poor decision making” that he said took “the focus off the real criminals on Wall Street.”