Congressman was asked: 'Who is going to shoot Obama?'
February 25th, 2011
08:54 AM ET
9 years ago

Congressman was asked: 'Who is going to shoot Obama?'

UPDATE: Broun has released a statement on the town hall question. (below)

UPDATE 2: A Secret Service spokesman says of the matter, “We’ve taken appropriate investigative steps. At this point we consider the matter closed.”

(CNN) – Rep. Paul Broun, the Georgia Republican who is among President Obama's biggest critics in the House, faced a startling question from a constituent at a town hall Thursday evening: "Who is going to shoot Obama?"

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the question was the first the congressman faced at the gathering and the comment drew laughter from the crowd. Broun did not exactly denounce the comments, according to the paper.

"The thing is, I know there's a lot of frustration with this president," he said in response. "We're going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we'll elect somebody that's going to be a conservative, limited-government president … who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Threats made against the president can constitute a federal crime, punishable by five years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

Jessica Morris, a spokeswoman for Broun, told the newspaper that the question was "inappropriate" and said the congressman "moved on." Morris was not immediately available for further comment Friday morning.

Broun drew national attention last month when, live tweeting during President Obama's State of the Union Address, wrote among other criticisms, "Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism."

Broun also apologized in 2008 when he likened then-President elect Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.

"You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential," he said told an interviewer at the time.'

Broun later apologized "to anyone who has taken offense at that."

Broun released a statement on the town-hall question Frday:

“Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?” I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question. After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities. I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements—made in sincerity or jest—that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated.”


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. lforlegend

    When are elected officials going to stand up against this kind of behavior? What that character said ain't funny and he should go to jail. Is this country on the brink of an internal war?

    February 25, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. Florida Joe

    I certainly hope the Secret Service identifies the person that asked the question and throws the book at that person. An for the crowd to laugh......these people are sick but then look how the Repub Gov in Wisconsin talks............
    This is an example of how far the HATE has gone in this country. I guess the shooting in AZ was not enough for some folks to smarten up.........And Congressman Rep. Paul Broun should be ashamed of himself.........Even John McCain had enough sense to tell the woman that she was wrong when she called Sen Obama a terrorist.........DISGUSTING

    February 25, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Rebekah

    Unbelievable. And these people claim to be Christians

    February 25, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. CathyinAZ

    Rep. Braun should have IMMEDIATELY denounced the comment BUT as is typical of his previous behavior was culpable in not doing so. You would think after the incident in Tucson, AZ, EVERYONE would be less hateful BUT guess that is too much to expect from the GOP and those in the South.
    SHAME SHAME SHAME not only on the person making the comment but also Rep Braun and those in the crowd that laughed. Pathetic beyond belief

    February 25, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. Michael

    Why is this not a top story? The president's life was threatened. The congressman's response was to "move on"?!

    February 25, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  6. Mark L

    To anyone who thinks that the Republican misinformation platform doesn't incite violence, guess what. To think that this man is in the US Congress is simply appalling. He should have said, "wait, that's a terrible thing to say. We disagree with Pres. Obama but I would never advocate violence to stop him." But, this Congressman didn't say that. Gee, I wonder why. It's a mystery.

    February 25, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. John

    So why was the person who asked the question not arrested???

    February 25, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. Annie, Atlanta

    I find it very telling that the congressman lacks the moral fiber to have put this constituent in his/her place. I'm glad he's not my congressman, though honestly I don't know if mine would have handled the situation any differently, sadly. And, that my folks, is the sad state of America today. I'm a Democrat. I didn't like the Bush policies that nearly destroyed our country. Especially the greed that was allowed to grow way outside normal boundaries, unchecked. But to wish him harmed or killed is not somewhere I would have ever gone. Is this toxic discourse our new reality, or can we cure ourselves?

    February 25, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. Tired of the nonsense

    Please do not judge the rest of Georgia by these imbeciles. Some of us are highly intelligent and know that what these people have said is utterly stupid. NOBODY wants a conservative in the White House. We HAVE a constitutionally minded president. These creatures who keep saying that the president doesn't know what a Constitution is or what it does is aiming their criticisms at the wrong guy. Bush was the dictatorial fascist. Obama is a duly, legally elected President.

    Obama 2012

    February 25, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  10. MBer

    It appears that some people have no class whatsoever. The congressman should have used this as a "teaching opportunity" to help his constituents climb out of the 19th century, but instead he copped out and essentially aggreed with the horrifiing suggestion.
    I would imagine that the person who asked the question will be answering a few questions as well...to the Secret Service.

    February 25, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  11. Mr.Boombostick

    Why denounce a comment that he probably agrees with. Republicans sell fear and hatred to get their constituents in a freenzy.

    February 25, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  12. Frank

    The U.S. sure has a lot of sick people. So the only acceptable President must be a conservative?

    February 25, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  13. Taioseach

    With all the nut jobs running around the U.S., this moron makes a statement like that?! When will these elected officials stop with the violent rhetoric? Who else has to die and how many? He should be censured for his comments.

    February 25, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  14. Irma in North Carolina

    Another republican hate rally. Wonder if Sarah was there. This racist republican from the south did nothing to denounce it. He and the person who asked the question should of been jailed at that moment. Lets hope the guy up above has plans for those two.

    February 25, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. Jim

    Why is it that anyone who wants to help people gets labled a socialst? These people on the right have no clue what it's like to live in a socialist state, or what real socialism is, but they want to throw the word around because of all the negativity it brings to the President. They are more fascist than anyone on the left, but they use these tactics to deflect their own shortcomings. Has President Obama been perfect? No. But he's been a far cry better than the guy before him. Time to start spreading the truth. Is President Obama socialist? No more so than the people who run charities and ask for donations. The Affordable Healhcare Reform Act doesn't create a public option, but the healthcare companies want us to think it does so we will get all lathered up and vote it down. And if you talked about shooting the President 8 years ago, you would be in prison.

    February 25, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  16. Anthony

    I see here where a crime has been committed and Congressman Broun has just brushed over in public. Is he secretly plotting the assassination of the POTUS Barak Obama? What does this mean? There needs to be an investigation. The first thing they'll say: This was a lone Wolf assassin, a crazy man with no political agenda.

    February 25, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. Robert Henry

    Shameful he should have denounced the person and reminded them that it is a federal offense to make threats against the president of the United States, he and his constituents in attendance (the ones who laughed) are sickening bigots. I just hope that Obama has the balls and sense of outrage to have the justice department look into this.

    February 25, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  18. scott

    Please note that the representative from the fine State of Georgia did not say that shooting the president would be wrong. Anyone with an ounce of true patriotism would have immediately and without any room for spin have said that the questioner was wrong and that those views have no place what so ever in American political discourse. But instead, Rep. Broun took the cowardly path we have seen over and over again from both Republican rank and file and their leadership, which is to molify these far right extremists rather than confronting them. Spinelessness and skill at pandering seem to be all you need to become a Republican office holder.

    February 25, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  19. Britannia

    Broun is an idiot! His response as a supposed "leader" ought to have been one of stern admonition for a remark that would probably have got the questioner in a lot of trouble had he (and I make the assumption on the premise that women aren't that stupid) made it while waiting to board a plane. It appears that, unlike previous administrations, there's a total lack of respect for our President and his family by leaders and lead alike. I'm pretty sure the constitution didn't mean to allow this in the "free speech" bit?

    February 25, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  20. GrogInOhio

    "The thing is, I know there's a lot of frustration with this president," he said in response.

    Ya now... there was also a LOT of frustration with the previous president, what with lying the country into a seemingly never ending war, implementation of torture, warrantless wiretaps, tax cuts for wealthy cronies, "free speech zones" and basic incompetence that let a great American city drown, but imagine some moron asking who was going to shoot said previous president. Every conservative in the nation would be asking why liberals ""hate America".

    February 25, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  21. Laurie

    Why in the world would the good people of Georgia have this man representing them? He is a disgrace. If you didn't know his character before, the fact that he didn't denounce someone making a threat against our President should teach you now.

    February 25, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  22. Doc

    First republicans won't take a stand on the President being a natural citizen of the United States or that he is a Christian (after blasting him for attending services at a "radical" Christian preacher's church. Then they begin attacking the first lady. And now they don't condemn a question about assassinating President Obama. If this is the way the Tea Party and the Republican party want to operate then you can count on me never voting for them...ever!

    February 25, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  23. Soldier38

    How can anyone with these views be an elected official? This is still proof of the sad state America is in.

    February 25, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  24. once upon a horse

    why is it when congressmen or senators are asked questions of this nature, they just let it go even in this case with a chuckle from the crowd. Sure he may have felt the question to be inappropriate so why didn't he tell the MORON that asked the question that it was?? These folks are so afraid that they will upset their looney base if they take them on. I give Sen McCain credit during the campaign when he was asked a question that was an outright lie that he corrected the woman that made it. Even though he was booed by the crowd for doing so, at least he was man enough to do it. This is pitiful really.

    February 25, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  25. JIM

    If you do not like the president, than do not vote for him in 2012, but until than, show some class and respect to him and to the majority that elected him in this country. We already have enough ignorance in this country, so why not elect another Republican legislator and prove just how stupid we are.

    February 25, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
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