Gingrich showered with glitter by protester

MINNEAPOLIS - GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista were hit with glittery confetti by a protester Tuesday during the couple's appearance at a book-signing.

The man approached the Gingriches during the signing at a downtown Minneapolis hotel, dumped a cracker box full of colorful confetti on the pair and said, "Feel the rainbow, Newt! Stop the hate! Stop anti-gay politics!"

Two Associated Press reporters witnessed the event. The man was quickly pushed out of the room by an event organizer as the Gingriches brushed confetti out of their hair and laps.

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Newt Gingrich smiled as he brushed confetti off the table, and said, "Nice to live in a free country."

Although authorities couldn't immediately confirm the man's identity, he appeared to be Nick Espinosa, a prankster who has disrupted at least two other political events in Minnesota, including one in which he dumped a bagful of pennies in the lap of a Republican candidate for governor last year. In that prank, Espinosa — who has also used the name Robert Erickson — told reporters he was trying to highlight immigration issues.

Espinosa emailed reporters later Tuesday and attached pictures of the confetti attack. He said it was a protest against a proposal to amend Minnesota's Constitution to ban gay marriage.

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Newt Gingrich was due to give a speech at the event sponsored by the Minnesota Family Council later in the evening. It's just the latest in a string of problems for Gingrich and top Republicans are now saying his campaign is in jeopardy, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

It started with his appearance on a Sunday talk show. He was rolling out his presidential campaign when he suddenly took aim at Republicans, specifically Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan.

"I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering," Gingrich said. "I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate."

Leading conservatives went ballistic, saying Gingrich had hurt the party and all of those Republicans who were supporting the Ryan plan.

There was also embarrassing news on Tuesday for Gingrich that came from his wife's financial disclosure form, which revealed that they recently had owed American Express between $15,000 and $50,000 dollars. He also owed between $250,000 and $500,000 dollars to upscale jewelry story Tiffany's - not a good message when voters care most about the economy and how they are going to make ends meet.

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