Romney pushes back after protesters interrupt rally
January 9th, 2012
09:47 PM ET
6 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:

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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. Martha in CF

    So the Occupiers couldn't address what they were protesting. Either Romney has not been paying attention for the past few months, I would say he doesn't care.....All he can do is blame Obama. The people do not want to hear that. Middle class and poverty is getting worse in this country–all starting with Reagan–their golden boy. a republican.................

    Obama/Biden 2012

    January 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. macb

    Sure, Obama will raise and spend truckloads of money on his campaign. He has to to keep up with the Joneses (ie Republicans. Republicans have been consistently against campaign finance reform, so the Democrats have to match them. But, Gov Romney, live by the sword die by the sword. Wait until you get a load of the advertising Gingrich's Super PAC is targeting you with in South Carolina (see "KingBain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town". It's his revenge for your super PAC assualt on him in Iowa. The folks at Obama re-election headquarters in Chicago must be loving this!!!

    January 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. Ferret out the B.S.

    Both miss the point, big business/corporations are pricing the middle class out of existance and reducing our standard of living as well as those even in more dire straits. The Presidents spending on campaign has nothing, zero,zip to do with it since it's private contributions. Heckling is also an American tradition and a right of free speech!

    January 10, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. bilk7

    "Really? You know something may go down tonight, but it ain't gonna be jobs sweetheart," Christie said

    Someone should have asked the family values, religious candidate Romney what he thought of Christies tasteless remark. Afterall Christie was up there talking for him.

    January 10, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Bruce

    It has been so long since either party has offered a real presidential candidate. There are adults alive today who have never had a real presidential candidate to consider. And now, with occupy protesters, we can say the same thing: complainers without a plan, without a goal, and really, without a well-expressed complaint.

    What a mess. And I see no end in sight. No matter what happens in November, we all lose.

    January 10, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Ferret out the B.S.

    Someone should ask Romney about his ties to Mexico and the mormon paligamists. Are they part of his family?

    January 10, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Meritless Mitt

    Good ol' Mitt, always ready to turn any question posed to him into an attack on Obama. This guy scares me.

    January 10, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. deepthunk

    Hahaha, If he makes a campaign stop in Arizona he better not leave me that opening, I have a question or two I could pose old Mitt, I’d love to put one particular aspect of his stance on corporate rights under the spotlight.
    Those poor occupiers, they were handed an opportunity like that and they fumbled the ball, again. Their so lovably inept, their like Gilligan and corporate lobby’s like ALEC are sort of like the skipper, beating them with their hats time and again.

    January 10, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Colorodan

    Maybe they are concerned about all the secret money that will be spent on Romney's behalf by the likes of Karl Rove's group American Crossroads. Money that they don't have to disclose the source of and could very well be coming from overseas by the super wealthy who want to manipulate our elections.

    January 10, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. quieteye

    Romney and Obamma the same? Please – quit the entertaining distractions and false equalizations and get something done. Vote out a congress that obstructs, distorts, and waters down initiatives to pull our country up. Vote for a congress that puts conserns of people with or ahead of profits. And thats not going to be from the Republican party. That simple.

    January 10, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Iconoclast

    Wish I could have been at the rally. I would have pointed out to Romney that while Obama certainly did accept PAC campaign money the vast overwhelming majority of his donations came from individuals, not corporations. Romney is being disingenuous as he always is. Guarantee you Obama will achieve the same level of individual support if not more in 2012 and Romney's money will be coming almost exclusively from corporate interests and his own pocket. Just another republican lying liar!

    January 10, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Lizzie

    Ok, so Mitts family has money, Pres.Obama has the media free of charge, Soros the hungarian,, adbusters a canadian affiliate of, he had in the last presidential election the donations from the palestinians, you complain that if someone had a real job, not just that of a community organizer, he is in with wallstreet, you complain that he is for the rich, who is Pres.Obama for, hint: President Obama, or he would not play the class, race, religion card everytime he speaks. Whatever happend to Pres.Kennedys word, DO NOT ASK WHAT THE COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY.

    January 10, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. LouieD

    Hey Jerry, how about we start with the fact that Mitt has absolutely no idea what Occupy is about. Or he does, but chooses to twist it to support his propaganda. FACT: In either case, this shows he's unqualified to be president.

    January 10, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Mitt sure dodged the question on Sunday about why none of his five sons did any military service.

    Wait till he goes to South Carolina.

    January 10, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Lisa

    Oh, and let me add, it would be a government that does not tell the people to "take responsibility for their actions" while rewarding corporate America for failing in theirs.

    January 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Vic of New York

    Spiro T. Agnew (VP under Richard Nixon – a Conservative) ridiculed protesters (me) by calling them "nattering nabobs of negativism". Look where his arrogance got him. Slick Willard doesn't get it. These are the people who are going to send him and Chris Fatso off packing. While there a lots of loud extremist war mongers in the Right Wing Republican Party, there are many more Americans fed up with his kind. For all thier loud cat calling, the Republicans will be remembered as a disenfranchised and disliked Party.

    January 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Iconoclast

    @Lizzie- The republican party is counting on ignorant people such as yourself to prop them up in power. Until you stop listening to FOX and start actually reading about national and world events from a variety of sources you will always be a slave in your own nation. BTW you mangled Kennedy's quote and you did it in ALL CAPS. Tell us what you've done for your country and I'll tell you about my time in the army during Viet Nam.

    January 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. bill

    Looks like the fleatards are at it again.

    January 10, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. NVa Native

    Rampant and uncontrolled capitalism along with all the ugliness that comes with it is what you have in Somalia. And that is what the Romney & the Repub Party are promoting.
    In our great country our DEMOCRACY is what promotes capitalism in a healthy way.
    Democracy is the American way!
    The anti-American Repubs can immigrate to Somalia to obtain an education that would serve them (and the rest of us) in many ways.

    January 10, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    Who wants to (bet $10,000) those actors/protesters weren't planted by Willard?

    January 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. JasonP

    Obama's money was mostly individual donations, not huge corporate ownership like with Willard.

    January 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Woman In California


    I'm beginning to wonder whether these things are getting staged by the candidates' campaigns themselves at this point so they can manufacture these "moments". Mittens' blather sounds way to planned and scripted for an off-the-cuff showdown with some angry protesters, particularly for a guy who's not exactly hyperarticulate.

    I posted almost the SAME thing earlier. I'm not fooled either.

    January 10, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. nena

    All GOP candidates have absolutely NOTHING to offer us. They are just full of hot air. They just want to secure more $$$ for their future, as if they are not wealthy enough. Greedy men with a cold closed heart and closed mind. DOWN WITH ALL GOP CANDIDATES!!

    January 10, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Smitty77 wrote:

    So, not being funny, I still want to hear how he could provide work when the industrial jobs have been sent offshore by the company owners.
    He would do it the same way that Republicans would do it. The basic ideological difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans would create more incentives to ship more jobs oversease, while Democrats seek to reduce those incentives.

    Conservatives call the liberal approach anti-business, mainly because it allegedly reduces the profits of people who are grossly overpaid anyway.. Liberals call the conservative approach anti-American, mainly because it allegedly reduces the number of jobs available to the middle class and poor in this country.

    January 10, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. Woman In California

    @ FormerlyfromUtah

    Thanks for REAFFIRMING what I already believed. Anyone who would back stab their former employer (for no good reason) doesn't get high marks from me.

    January 10, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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