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Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich visits Mason City (photos and video)

MASON CITY – Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich arrived in Mason City Wednesday morning at about 10:30 am and addressed a large crowd at Southbridge Mall.

Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House in the 1990’s, was greeting by the national media and state Representative Linda Upmeyer, state Representative Josh ByrnesMason City Mayor Eric Bookmeyer and Clear Lake Mayor Nelson Crab.

Gingrich and his wife Callista made their way through the south entrance to the mall and shook hands with ordinary North Iowans, eventually taking the stage at the mall’s center court.  There, he was  introduced to the crowd, estimated at over 200, by Upmeyer.

Gingrich credited Upmeyer and the state Republicans with Iowa’s relatively good economy and fiscal condition.

Gingrich made a commitment: No more negative ads prior to the January 3rd primary.  He said Iowans deserved beter than the “false claims” that other candidates have been making in the campaign.

Gingirch said it was “an absurd way to go” for the congress to pass stop-gap measures such as the jobless benefits package recently passed rather than address the core of the real issues.  He called this the “cost of amateurism.”

Gingrich took several questions from the audience, ranging from his recent stance on making troubled children work as janitors in schools to radical Islam.

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