(CNN) - Mitt Romney sparred with a group of Occupy protesters at a rally in New Hampshire Monday, a rare sight for the former Massachusetts governor who normally avoids engaging when his campaign stops are interrupted.
When a group began chanting “Live Free or die! Always occupy!” during a campaign stop in Bedford, Romney intervened and asked the group what message they were aiming to get across.
CNN Live: Tune in Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET for CNN's live special coverage of the New Hampshire Primary and follow real-time results on CNNPolitics.com and on Twitter at #cnnelections. Stay up to date with CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
“How about, instead of shouting, why don’t you say what you mean? What’s your view? Madam, what do you think?” Romney asked.
When a protester responded with a grievance about the role of money in political campaigns, Romney used the moment to take a swipe at President Barack Obama.
“Who’s the president who’s spending more money to campaign than any in the history of America?” Romney asked to cheers from his supporters. “The answer is that this president is spending money and has spent money. You know what this president has been the first president to throw aside the public funding program and break all those barriers and to spend massively more than any president in history.”
Romney said the protesters weren’t offering a legitimate alternative to the American system of government.
“I get the chance to see these guys who come out here to protest and now and then I ask them, 'Tell me, what would you replace America with, what kind of system would you have?' They don’t know. And the truth is, there has never been any place on Earth that has freed people from poverty like free enterprise American style,” Romney said.
Romney’s demeanor during the skirmish was markedly different than his reactions to previous interruptions to his campaign events, and reflected a style employed by his surrogate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, on Sunday.
Responding to chants from a group of attendees yelling "Mitt kills jobs, Christie kills jobs,” the Republican governor fired back.
"Really? You know something may go down tonight, but it ain't gonna be jobs sweetheart," Christie said, before pointing to his record of job creation in the New Jersey.
At other events, Romney has tersely told protesters, “you had your turn, now it’s my turn,” before waiting for police to escort protesters out.
Santorum to South Carolina: 'Step up'
Romney feared being fired
Paul looking forward to South Carolina, caucus states
Perry makes play for Christian voters in South Carolina
Democrats maintain focus on Romney
So Huntsman is a traitor because he answered the call to serve his country under a pres. not of his party??? Does that mean that our people in uniform who voluntarily enlisted to defend our freedoms who might not be Dems. are also traitors?? IMO that was a "racist bigot" remark!
Romney is a liar and the protesters are right to question him. Funny how he sidesteps their questions and blames Obama for everything.
"'Tell me, what would you replace America with"
MITTENS: PROUDLY STANDING UP FOR THE STATUS QUO.
At one time the US did lead in social mobility. Not any more. Western Europe and Canada now lead the US in this regard. So much for the Republican party's blind devotion to whatever its corporate sponsors want. The Republicans want a two class society. A small elite to control all assets, and the rest just well enough to work and serve in its military. Oh and die at retirement so the assets can stay with the elite and reduce taxes.
Romney has tersely told protesters, “you had your turn, now it’s my turn,” before waiting for police to escort protesters out.
Funny. So it's okay when Teapartiers harass and interrupt and protest The President and Democratic candidates. But as soon as the tables are turned, the Teapublicans cry foul and call authorities in to silence the protesters.
I guess freedom of speech and freedom of assembly is okay as long as they agree with your point of view, eh Mitt? Republican hypocrites.
Occupiers are all about "free speech" – for themselves. They try to drown out the voices of anyone whose opinion differs from theirs.
Freedom to speak only for those who agree, is no freedom at all.
I'm afraid to think what the world would be like under the tyrranical rule of Occupiers.
Mitt likes to fire people....Bain Capitol took a bailout, and Mitt fired hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Huntsman is the best candidate in the Republican field, unfortunately the rabid tea-party mentality that has permeated conservative politics will not allow for such a smart, sensible and moderate candidate.
Romneys response was a little misleading. The influence of corporate money in politics and the way it dictates legislation is the problem. The fact that a canadate raises all or the majority of his campaign contributions from a few sources is the problem. A canandate that raises his money from many individula donors is more responsive to the electoriate. Dont be fooled the reaal winners of all this campaign cash is the media where it's al spent.
People love to point at Mitt and Bain Capital and what they did as a private firm with private money and criticize Mitt for it, but these are the same people who praise Obama when he did the same thing for GM with our public taxpayer money.
When is CNN going to do a report showing that consumer credit, a good measure of consumer confidence, rose more than it has in 10 years back in November AND that graphing consumer credit over the past year quite clearly shows a significant drop in consumer confidence back in May coinciding with the GOP/Teatroll hostage-brinksmanship game with the national debt ceiling? It's proof they measurably delayed the recovery with their nonsense over the debt ceiling...JUST AS IT WAS MEANT TO.
Is America ready for a cult member in the White House?
The shame is a great opportunity by OWS has been turned into a clown show. Most of these protestors know nothing of our corrupt politicians. They lack the intelligence to even stick to a plan. What a shame... How about saying something like: "Restrict the amount of money (bribes) a lobbyist can give politicians." How about, "Congressional term limits!" How about, "Change the 8-to-1 lending ratio on the dollar by the banks!" Or maybe say something like, "All lobbying must be recorded and held accountable to which politician received what amount of money. Just because a politician and a lobbyist 'have lunch' off White House grounds, does not mean it did not occur. These bribes should all be accounted for." Could've said something like, "Close the tax loop-holes that giant corporations use to their benefit," or, "No more tax credits for conglomerates like GE, who post record profits each year!" I could go on and on. IF YOU WANT CONGRESS TO START WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE, INSTEAD OF CORPORATIONS, VOTE FOR RON PAUL, 2012!