IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was disrupted by more than a dozen protesters as he started to give an address on brain science on Wednesday afternoon at the University of Iowa.
"Mic check. Mr. Gingrich, we are here to protest your speech today." the protesters yelled inside the 250-seat auditorium that had standing room only.
"I appreciate that 95 percent percent of you, maybe even 99 percent of you wanted to actually have an intelligent discussion and are not going to be drowned out by the 1% who try to impose there will by trying to make noise," Gingrich fired back after listening politely and delaying his speech for roughly five minutes.
The speaker was criticized by two of his GOP rivals today -- Mitt Romney and Ron Paul -- and was asked to address these criticisms by the press in light of Gingrich's call to run a positive campaign.
"I think a brain science initiative is the way of helping human beings… I'll let him decide if it's zany," Gingrich said in response to Romney having called Gingrich "zany" in an interview earlier in the day with the New York Times.
"They should run their campaign the way they want to. I'm going to run my campaign the way I want to. My campaign's going to focus on positive ideas and positive solutions and I'm frankly taking the gamble that the American people care about actually solving our country's problems, not just watching politicians beat each other up," Gingrich responded.
Speaker Gingrich called Ron Paul a "formidable candidate" who he takes "very seriously" and said he wants to continue to run a "positive" campaign despite Paul laughing at his proposal to not go negative.
"The question is," the speaker told the press on his competitors going negative, "after we're done with the first wave of negativity, do people start shrugging it off and saying it says more about the person who runs the ad than it does about Newt Gingrich."
Gingrich met with a group of 30 scientists following his speech here at the university to discuss his strategies for saving money in the brain science field.
He continues finishes his two-day swing of Iowa tomorrow when he participates in the final GOP debate before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.