© David Purdy/The Des Moines Register
Newt Gingrich will answer Iowa moms’ questions during a CafeMom.com campaign stop at Java Joe’s in Des Moines on Friday, December. 30, 2011.
Newt Gingrich today wiped away tears and was handed a tissue by an audience member in Des Moines when he became emotional onstage while talking about his mother.
"I get teary eyed every time we sing Christmas carols," Gingrich said before his speech was overcome with emotion at an event hosted at Java Joe's Coffee in Des Moines by CafeMom.com
, a secular, bipartisan organization.
The crowd - roughly 100 people in a jam packed room - expressed a compassionate sigh of emotion.
He explained that his mother loved singing in the choir and when he was very young she made him sing in the choir.
He then told the crowd that he remembers his mother as happy, enjoying life and her friends but noted that late in her life she was in a long-term care facility and battled with a bipolar disorder.
That introduced him to the quality of long-term care and his quest for the nation to advance research on Alzheimer's disease and brain science.
He then became emotional again.
"It comes directly from dealing directly... with the real problems of real people in my family," Gingrich said as the crowd of mostly women applauded.
The emotion came off as deeply sincere, heartfelt and real, said Des Moines resident and event attendee Toni Shivers.
"I think it was honest. It didn't seem phony or part of an act at all," said Shivers.
Gingrich's mother, Kathleen "Kit" Gingrich
died in 2003. She was 77.
Gingrich talked extensively about his childhood and his mother in a 1995 Vanity Fair article