Romney pushes back after protesters interrupt rally
January 9th, 2012
09:47 PM ET
3 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.

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.

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. Eric

    Oh goodie good! Christie showed me how to have a backbone, now I can do it all on my own! Yippie, look at me Chris, aren't you proud!?

    January 10, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Eric

    Heres a fact for you. Romney has gotten more donations from lobbyists than any other Candidate.
    Oh and hes flip flopped on issues more frequently than any other candidate. Sometimes in the same day. On saturday when he was asked about his Super Pac commercial, he said he never seen it. 12 minutes later he was telling what the commercial was about.

    Not someone id personally trust. Definately not someone i would allow to lead my country.

    Dont believe his lies. He stands behind his money and lies. Id hope most of you can spot a liar when you see one.

    January 10, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. ALPHA

    Romney put those "hecklers" in their place. He simply stated the truth, that Mr. Obama has, does and is spending more money on his re-election campaign than any other President in our Nations history.

    Mr. Obama has no concept of money...as long as it's ssomeone elses.

    January 10, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Larry L

    We need jobs and Romney sends them overseas. He"l hand Social Security and Medicare to Wall Street. He constantly changes his positions to get votes. Does anybody need more information? President Obama remains the only advocate for the working class and for retired people.

    January 10, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. sick of republican phonies

    "Really? You know something may go down tonight, but it ain't gonna be jobs sweetheart," said Christie. What is going down tonight? My guess iis a large pizza with the works, 2 bags of cheesy puffs, and a lo-cal milk shake.

    January 10, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Observer

    Democrat agenda: Do something bold, improve the quality of life for ALL Americans. Republican agenda: Vote out Obama.

    January 10, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. sick of republican phonies

    That husky homunculus Christie rips "Jersey Shore" for promoting a stereotypical view of the state, yet he plays the "rough tough Joisey guy who'll break your knees" shtick whenever he can. I'd get in a ring with that phony thug in a minute, even though he's 15 years younger and has me by 200 pounds.

    January 10, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. carly

    Romney is clueless. the problem is not Obama. the problem is Romney and the GOP. They do not represent the middle class American and never will.

    January 10, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. Johnny

    you are all really nice people

    January 10, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Muri

    You think this is bad? Just wait for the payback on the town hall meetings.....
    And PLEASE complain about it so we can juxtapose the videos to illustrate the blatant hypocricy currently running rampant in the GOP agenda.

    I mean it was utterly comical for Newt to say ANYTHING about negative ad campaigning so this will just be icing on the cake.

    January 10, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Jon

    Smart move to ask them what they want, let them respond, and then tell them that they don't know what they are talking about.

    Instead of asking, "what system would you like to see" he told a story about how these protesters never know what they want. Why not give the lady a chance to tell you instead??

    Also, her gripe had nothing to do with President Obama. It had to do with the system that ALL candidates willing participate in. Public financing broke down once PACs and Super PACs were allowed to spend endless amounts of money and act like a surrogate for their chosen candidate. Mitt Romney should know all about that.

    January 10, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. pmmarion

    Does anyone but me think that the "role of money in political campaigns" question was a setup for Romney to get his zinger in?

    January 10, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Johnny

    omney is a "business man"...thats just what we need right? Ya cause "businessmen" did such a great job helping this economy in 08'...ya they know just what to do. Bush Jr was a "businessman", he did a great job with all the "business" experience. You know what lets get Jeff Skelling out of prison and let him be Romneys running mate...I mean he's a "businessman" This country needs to be run like a "business" you know like...TYCO, ENRON, WORLDCOM, CAR COMPANIES, LEMAN BROS., AIG, Many Banks, MF Global. Ya a "businessman" knows best..sure. ..

    January 10, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. LiberalAgitator

    That's like asking ,"what's a legitimate alternative to Nazism ?". What was that alternative again ? I wonder who's responsible for more death and destruction – the Nazis, the Japanese, the Roman empire, or the Corporate American empire. Keep up the great work, Occupiers.

    January 10, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. John

    Don't believed the hype. Mitt is a wolf in sheep clothing. Newt sum it up better. Romney would sell his mother if that would guarantee him a win! Mitt would say and do whatever

    January 10, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. Bill

    If you can't win on your own merits then criticize the other guy! That is the Republican response to anything that is not what they want! Sad our society accepts it and will vote for it! OBAMA 2012!

    January 10, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. AhhPures

    If Romney is elected president, everyone's personal information will be entered into the Church of Latter Day Saint's data base, and I hope they don't send out their goons to kill me for saying this, I'll have to watch my back now.

    January 10, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Marc S

    Romney will say whatever he thinks will get him elected. If the other candidates from his own party rip him coming from the same "side", imagine what everyone else will do to him if he comes out with the nomination. To even suggest he created jobs at Bain is a lie. To suggest he Ever worried about a "pink slip" is a lie, and just saying corporations are people too just shows how poorly he understands the plight of anyone who is part of the middle class. How does a candidate refuse responsibility for his super pac? I know, call it republican politics. But hey, America has been this stupid before. This is the same group that called a war hero a traitor and gave us George Bush. Limbaugh and Palin will blame the media when the democrats bring light to the same facts.

    January 10, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. LiberalAgitator

    Keep up the great work, Occupiers. Don't fall for their "deflection" tactics.

    January 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. JN

    The protesters should have replied the President is spending more because the Republican Supreme Court declared it legal for PACS to run campaigns. Thus, rich candidates (like Romney) can get their rich buddies to fund PR, marketing, commercial ads, town halls, etc. to bash their less well-funded opponents. The President has no choice but to play the game the way it is being played. His opponents are spending more so he has to spend more.

    January 10, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Tom

    Slightly underhanded, they complained about money in politics and he asked about what to replace America's system with. Mitt is a perfect politician, he steered the conversation in a different direction to divert blame from his huge donors.

    January 10, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. Independent Voters

    Romney said he for the TeaParty but not for the middle class.

    January 10, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. DRW

    @Jerry – Hey the republicans don't know what facts are. In my opinion there has not be a fact come out of their month since all of this poor excuse for campaigning started. Just their republican lies and ridicule, so I'm sending some of it back to them. lol.

    January 10, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Captain Awesome

    Mitt Romney has proven that once confronted with an intelligent retort, the OWS trolls fall short in explaining exactly what they represent and what they want.

    January 10, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. YBP

    To set the record straight, Mr. Romney, President Obama opposed the Citizens United decision that allowed for all this corporate cash to be raised, and said so very strongly on national television while one of Bush's Supreme Court Justices sat in the front row and wagged his effeminate, indignant head. Who can forget that? Mr. Obama is also running to win, and is only raising a billion dollars begrudgingly to combat the billion diollars that Republicans are raising. What is the President supposed to do? Sit there and do nothing? Lose on principle? Or hold his nose and fight fire with fire? I can't wait to see Romney get his can kicked by Obama in the debates!

    January 10, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6