DENVER (AP) — Republican Newt Gingrich took aim at the Obama administration's counterterror efforts Thursday, saying government officials aren't keeping America secure.
In a Denver talk sponsored by an anti-terrorism center, Gingrich poked fun at Homeland Security officials for what he said were missed clues about the attempted Christmas bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner last year.
The former House speaker joked that American security officials have been busy inspecting shoes while terrorists had long since moved on to developing new ways to get explosive onto airplanes.
He also called for a new international effort to defeat extremism in Iran. Gingrich said world powers should look to the 1980s and the largely peaceful defeat of communism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe for guidance.
Gingrich did not elaborate on plans to run for president despite being asked several times by the forum's moderator, Denver Post editor Greg Moore.
Gingrich has traveled the country shoring up support for a possible 2012 candidacy and held a fundraiser before the terrorism talk, which was sponsored by Denver's Center for Empowered Living and Learning, which organizes educational events and maintains a permanent exhibit on terrorism.
During his talk, Gingrich was heckled by about five young men in the balcony who chanted "Newt! Is! New world order!" They were ejected.
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