Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry was heckled Sunday in Ames, Iowa over his recent ad criticizing President Barack Obama for signing legislation to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
The Texas governor spoke for about 15 minutes and made a gaffe when referring to the Department of Energy's loan guarantee to the energy company Solyndra, referring to it as a country. "No greater example of it than this administration sending millions of dollars into the solar industry, and we lost that money," Perry said. "I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solynda," he said.
Afterwards, hecklers confronted Perry. "Why are you marginalizing people in this country? Why are you demonizing gay and lesbian people?" yelled Warren Blumenfeld, who teaches a gay studies course at Iowa State University, according to CNN.
"Why can't gays compete in the military?" shouted Jason Arment, 24, an Iowa State student who said he served with the Marines in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It was insulting, it was degrading to service members," he later added. Perry did not respond to the hecklers.
Perry's ad drew controversy among his staff, with his top pollster, Tony Fabrizio, calling it "nuts." "You don't need to be in the pews every Sunday to know 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," says Perry in the ad.