Romney faces rowdy town hall crowd
August 24th, 2011
08:43 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney faces rowdy town hall crowd

Lebanon, New Hampshire (CNN) – Mitt Romney got a taste of the rowdy reception some members of Congress have faced at town halls this summer when he was hectored about his positions on issues ranging from government spending to entitlement programs by several voters in Lebanon Wednesday.

The former Massachusetts governor kept a game face on and let each questioner at the Lebanon Senior Center event speak, though at times he did hold out his hand and insist on being allowed to answer the pointed questions.


One woman repeatedly questioned the former Massachusetts governor about his support for a “cut, cap and balance” initiative that would cap federal spending.

"I wish you would speak to the truth rather than say something that you think is a platitude, when in fact we do need the government to spend money," the woman said, citing government support of schools, police stations and for victims of natural disasters.

The woman would not allow Romney to answer her question, and repeatedly talked over him until another audience member confronted her.

"Do you have a question? Do you have a question and let me answer it," Romney said, smiling as the woman continued to interrupt him. "You had your turn madam, now let me have mine. ... Just hold on a moment. Just hold on."

He finished his answer by saying the federal government needed to work within its means to provide for its citizens, which received applause from the audience.

Then Romney turned to a different voter, who asked about campaign finance rules that allow corporations to donate large sums to federal campaigns. Soon another woman chimed in.

"I did hear that there was a company formed which gave your campaign a million dollars - do you remember this? - a few weeks ago," a woman asked. "Can you explain that?"

The woman was referring to a controversial donation given to a pro-Romney political action committee by a corporation started by a former colleague of the governor. The gift came under scrutiny because it was the only action the company took before it was dissolved. The donor, Edward Conard, came forward and acknowledged the donation after it was reported by the national media.

Romney said Conard was a friend who had donated to him during previous campaigns, and said his belated acknowledgment of the gift made the situation "no harm, no foul."

"Was it a company, you say, acting as a person? That may well be. Take it up with him. But there's actually - given the fact that he said, 'Oh it's me,' I don't think there was - if you will, no harm, no foul," he said.

Romney also fielded tough questions from the politically-diverse crowd on his beliefs about the causes of global warming, the health care plan he passed as governor of Massachusetts – one heckler shouted "Romneycare" – and Social Security reform.

The questions came from a variety of audience members and did not appear to be part of a coordinated effort, though a few protesters had gathered outside the event with signs that read "Hands off my Medicare."

Other voters were supportive of the governor, and he was applauded several times after answering hostile questions.

For his part, Romney said he was thrilled by the feisty reception.

"This has been fun, I'll tell ya. This is the most fun I've had in a long time. This is a great group," he told them. "This is what's so fun about town meetings in New Hampshire. You guys care. You're informed."


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. CA Dream USA

    America the un-employed , working poor ,working middle class and our seniors need to keep speaking up at the town halls and up to marching on Washington and everyone of these Tea Party big business lovers districts to tell them stop cutting ,jobs ,taxes ,benefits and hurting working families all across America with ONE LOAD VOICE WE ARE PEOPLE TOO !!!!!!!

    August 24, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Romney Faces Rowdy Town Hall Crowd... and performs like the intelligent, reasonable and confident leader that he is.
    Good job here and I look forward to the day he gets to debate Barack Obama.

    August 24, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. thomas

    Romney is too thin skinned !

    He needs to be tough like Rick Perry , it's takes courage to execute an innocent man !
    Perry has what it takes !

    August 24, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. ATL Guy

    We all need to go to these meetings and put these clowns through the wringer. They want to stand up and talk all that "government is the problem" nonsense and yet they're running to get paid by the government. The more we put them on the spot the more they crumble. This Romney is a fake and a idiot just like all of the other Republicans in the race.

    August 24, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. Melo-D

    "This has been fun, I'll tell ya. This is the most fun I've had in a long time. This is a great group," he told them. "This is what's so fun about town meetings in New Hampshire. You guys care. You're informed."

    As he turns to his advisor and asks why didn't you book me at the South Carolina event, those guys will believe anything I say.

    August 24, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. ellie

    Have to admit, he's gorgeous. I could stand him for 4 years. Plus the fact he's had the most constructive ideas of anyone. People have to realize this health care bargaining chip tied to union contracts and job benefits has got to change eventually. The companies are all leaving. I think his idea to have states setting up their own systems is great because 1) certain states have different population spreads, and 2) it would be great to perfect these plans on a smaller scale before establishing a federal system. I don't especially want my insurance to be tied to my employment forever.

    August 24, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  7. bb

    Why does Romney hate seniors?

    August 24, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. illegalpointofview

    "No harm NO foul" ok that's what it's called now. It sure smells fishy. Looking at all the GOP records there's only one who fought this type of backroom deal and schemes etc. Yeah you guessed right "MAMMA GRIZZLY"

    August 24, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  9. Rey

    No comments, I thought this guys was a front runner. Ron Paul 2012

    August 24, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  10. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Flip, pander, flop, and then flip.

    August 24, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. Ramesh Shrestha

    Even if Mitt does not have real solutions to our problems, he must be given opportunities to talk his points in an atmosphere of civility. I condemn any kind of incivility in political discourse whether it be from the left or the right.

    August 24, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  12. Name king

    Aahh for some reason mitten just give me the creaps. He's one of those trickle down fanatics, who love to give big corporations money in the form of tax cuts, jumping over the consumers and small businesses that hires folks. Government need to allow the consumers to touch this money then they'll intern allow the small businesses to touch this money before it reaches to the big boys, because after big corporations hold this money it is going over seas to pile up with the rest of the 2.5 trillions these corporations have, hiding from the tax man. Mitten looks like one of these corporate people that keep sucking the life out of America as they build china into the most powerful country on planet.

    August 24, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  13. The Unsub

    Whatta joke he is!

    August 24, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  14. Indy

    "This has been fun, I'll tell ya. This is the most fun I've had in a long time. This is a great group," he told them. "This is what's so fun about town meetings in New Hampshire. You guys care. You're informed."

    When you are an unemployed carnival barker it is fun to get your toes wet in a diverse crowd, but I am sure Romney will not like whats coming when the questions get really tough, he is just getting started.

    August 24, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    "The woman was referring to a controversial donation given to a pro-Romney political action committee by a corporation started by a former colleague of the governor." BS!! The company was started by Romney in 1984!!. ANYONE ELSE!!! EXCEPT THIS CLOWN!! THE MORMONS AND THE LUTHERAN PEDOPHILES ARE STEALING AMERICA THROUGH THE BACK DOOR ALSO KNOWN AS S&P 500 AND OTHER GARBAGE CREDIT RATERS!!!. Please clown your fifteeen minutes are up!! wait for more rattling!!!

    August 24, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. A Real Patriot

    The Republicans reap what they sow....remember two summers ago when they just about wrote the manual on how to disrupt Democratic Town Halls?

    If you can't take the heat-don't light the fire in the first place.

    August 24, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. Tyler Derden

    Mitt "Howdy Doody" Romney is a much more electable Republican in the general than my own home state's Rick "Corporation Cowboy" Perry. Therefore, Democrats should work to make the Romney Millionaire Train crash so we can all watch Perry stick his cowboy boots in his mouth and lose for the first time in his decades long political career of bashing government.

    August 24, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  18. LegendRx

    "This was So Fun" . . . yeah right (?) Mr. Fun is on his way out. See ya!

    August 25, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  19. Sue

    Mitt Romney is going to be elected as the next president of the United States--November 2012.!! Romney is a business, economic, financial genius!!

    Did you know........When Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, he did not take one penny for serving the citizens as Governor. In other words--he did it for FREE!!

    Just wait until Romney releases his jobs plan-just days after Obama releases his "plan". Romney will make Obama look like the unqualified, clueless fool that he is.

    Romney's father was elected Gov of Michigan at "least" 3 times. At that time, the auto industry (American Autos), Detroit, and the entire state of Michigan were booming. That is why Romney is loved so much in Michigan.

    Mitt Romney-President in November 2012!!

    August 25, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  20. Truth Dealer

    Poor Mitten's is finding out that people aren't buying his negative all the time routine and are actually paying attention to what he is saying and they are rejecting Mr. Mitten's him big time ! Romney just like rest of the Republican field are beginning to be exposed for the frauds they truly are !

    August 25, 2011 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  21. Duane Kimball

    If Romney thinks this is fun, he should look at videos of Rep. Frank Guinta being torn to shreds by audiences in Greenland, Exeter, etc. They are just a rollicking good time.

    August 25, 2011 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  22. Marie MD

    At least he hangs in there and toughs it out and doesn't keep parroting, "I am running for the presidency of the US" or talk about himself in the third person.
    Got to give him credit but, no, I still woudln't vote for somebody who send jobs overseas or carries only $100 bills in his wallet or is now building a 11,000 square foot house. Nope.

    August 25, 2011 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  23. sick of republican phonies

    Mitt, go home. You have tried to look "presidential" and have acted like you were preordained to be the republican candidate. But even the REPUBLICANS don't like you! You're just a blowhard in an empty suit.

    August 25, 2011 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  24. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The teabaggers have a plan for Romney to repeat 2008.

    August 25, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  25. Common Sense

    "This is what's so fun about town meetings in New Hampshire. You guys care. You're informed."

    Unlike you, Mitt.

    August 25, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
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