Romney pushes back after protesters interrupt rally
January 9th, 2012
09:47 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney pushes back after protesters interrupt rally

(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.

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“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.

Also see:

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


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. jerry

    go Mitt..just the facts is all you need to defeat obama... people need the facts.

    January 9, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. chris

    was Gov. Christie threatening those protesters. The only thing that guy can beat up is a Big Mac.

    January 9, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. Republican who supports President Obama

    I hope they keep the pressure on him and all of the other candidates. They have been rolling around this country thinking they can bash the current administration unchecked. They now have a taste of what the Tea Party has done to interrupt the Dems for the past 3 years.

    The message is simple – they are the voice of the people not corporations.

    January 9, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  4. Brian

    Love it! Nice job, I'm glad to see that Romney listened to the protesters and made a logical case for response. I think his response was great. We can use a president who at least listens for alternatives if needed.

    January 9, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. Bobby

    Well said, Mr. Romney. I'm very impressed with they way he handled it

    January 9, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  6. LegendRx

    They asked you the question Romney, not the president. Always ready to answer questions with the blaming of the president. Even if its about apples and oranges. This guy is as phony and phony can get.

    January 9, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  7. deb

    Interesting how he sidestepped Obama's issue with corporations being able to give donate/support political candidates, something the SCOTUS upheld. Obama took a lot of heat on his criticism of SCOTUS for this.

    January 9, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  8. Bill Graham

    If Mitt Romney were to be elected President, I have to wonder how he would treat the Occupy Wall Street protestors. I don't get good feelings about this man at all. I do not trust him.

    January 10, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  9. Debbie

    So basically Romney couldn't stand up for himself but needed the big bully to do it for him? Wow so If Romney becomes President will Christy be called in to stand up for Romney when Putin calls him a wuss? Wow... it's already embarrassing.

    January 10, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  10. GeorgeVT

    LIAR LIAR pants on fire! GW Bush was the first president to opt out of the public campaign funding, not Obama

    January 10, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  11. billy

    Mitt Romney, job cremater

    January 10, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  12. scott

    The protesters are exactly right, all the money in elections Has poisened the system.

    January 10, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  13. jon

    Romney is corporate greed. He is not for the middle class.

    January 10, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  14. Andrew

    If you support Romney, you need to take a step back and reconsider. A vote for Romney might as well be a vote for Obama. They are the same. This election is not about the candidates. It's the Government against the people. A vote for Ron Paul is a vote for the people. Voting for anyone else is voting for the government. WAKE UP AMERICA. Don't let the media brainwash you in to believing what they want you to believe. Search Ron Paul on youtube and learn the TRUTH!

    January 10, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  15. Bruce

    It's ironic that Mitt complains about Obama spending money on campaigns. This from the man who is cowardly hiding behind his PACs to spend millions of dollars to trash the other candidates.

    January 10, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  16. Republicans are not for middle class

    They are going to protest across this land until the money is out of politics. They changed Vietnam policies and they are going to change the greedy money in politics

    January 10, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  17. Vin Dicated

    It's the President's fault? That's rich, pun intended.

    January 10, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  18. vote the Tea Party out in 2012

    what I find very interesting is that the GOP candidates are attacking Mitt on the very same issues they are supposed to support...capitalism. They are giving the DNC and Obama LOADS of material for Nov. So are all these GOPers gonna kiss and make up in Tampa? Some how I just can't see Newt and Huntsman doing that.

    January 10, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  19. MeandYou

    So his response was "But Obama is worse! wa wa wa" Romney and Obama are two sides of the same coin.

    January 10, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  20. Dennis

    Mitt should just give out some of those $100 dollar bills that he has a surplus of to quiet the protestors.

    January 10, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  21. Maltese Falcon

    Nixon was re-elected; George Bush, Jr. was re-elected. O'Bama will be re-elected and the ridiculous war and bankruptcy will continue. Unfortunately.

    January 10, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  22. mikedeang

    The difference is that Obama raises his funds through small individual donations, he does not accept PAC....Mitt lives off super PAC funding which is a nifty special interest mechanism....

    January 10, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Governer Romney personifies everything that energizes Occupy protestors. Romney's remark yesterday can be easily taken out of context. While we know exactly what he meant, we also know that he had meant what he said. Most folks would use phrases like 'drop the company' when speaking about changing insurers. Romney chose to refer to it as firing people.

    January 10, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  24. Joan

    The Occupy Wall Street movement may have a far more reaching impact on the next election than the Republicans may care to think about. Romney personifies everything they are protesting about- the 1%, big businesses, outsourcing, pink slips, huge bonuses, etc. The undercurrent of their protests many spur on others to decide to get involved and work for candidates who don't meet this criteria. If the Tea Party had an impact on the last election, the sentiments of OWS could easily do the same thing this time around.

    January 10, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  25. bczu

    If he wasn't good enough to be the GOP nominee during the last election. What makes him a good choice to be the President now?

    January 10, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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