A former Lake Worth city commissioner was removed from an event featuring Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in Coral Springs, Florida on Wednesday because authorities feared the candidate’s supporters might turn on her.
“Do you work for the people or Freddie Mac?” Cara Jennings shouted, standing about 50 feet from the candidate.
Conservative Shark Tank blogger Javier Manjarres caught the incident on video after the heckling had already begun.
“This is a free country and people are allowed to come and be noisy,” Gingrich explained to the angry crowd. “If you go to the July 2008 New York Times, you will see the only reference to my talking to Congress about Freddie Mac. I told the House Republicans to vote no on giving them any more money.”
“You lie like a lobbyist!” Jennings replied.
“You lie!” a man in the crowd shouted back. “Get out of here!”
“Abraham Lincoln once said, if you are debating somebody who will not agree that two plus two equals four, you will never win the debate because facts make no difference,” Gingrich retorted.
“If facts made a difference you’d be in jail!” Jennings yelled, doing her best to be heard over Gingrich’s microphone and the noisy crowd. “You’re a corrupt politician!”
“Shut up!” a Gingrich supporter bellowed. “You’re an imbecile!”
As Jennings continued heckling the candidate, his fans seemed to grow more angry.
“Shut your big mouth!” a man howled. “We don’t want to hear your shit! Get that asshole out of here! Get the hell out of here you asshole!”
Gingrich’s Broward County Co-Chair, Karin Hoffman, stepped forward and got in Jennings’ face, but her protests did not stop.
“Is it fair that CEO pay is 300 times the worker’s pay in this country?” Jennings pressed.
A male staffer in a suit and sunglasses approached the activist. “We are worried for your safety,” he said.
“You’re telling me your own supporters are going to attack me for having an opinion?” Jennings asked. “I think that’s what you just said.”
Hoffman again returned to confront the former city commissioner: “You are lying. … You have no conviction.”
In response to a reporter’s question, Jennings said she was neither affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement nor the Democratic Party. In fact, Jennings won her election in Lake Worth as a member of the Green Party.
At that point, for reasons that are not clear, Hoffman punched Manjarres and his camera.
“Assault charges could be forthcoming, and it’s fair to ask if she is suited to be representing Newt Gingrich in Broward County,” the conservative blogger promised on his website. Manjarres has previously reported on Hoffman for mocking cancer survivors like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).
Although the video ends there, The Daily Beast noted that police officers eventually formed a ring around Jennings and removed her for her own safety.
According to a 2006 profile of Jennings, the activist isn’t new to protesting. In 1996 at the age of 19, she started a group called the “Radical Cheerleaders” to speak out against globalization. She has also worked as a special needs instructor at a local high school.
“I believe in a form of governance where people have the utmost say over how they are governed,” she told The Palm Beach Post in 2010. “I’m not anti-government. I’m for the utmost public input into the things that impact our lives.”
Watch this video from The Shark Tank, uploaded Jan. 25, 2012.