Romney aides, Secret Service block press from event rope line
May 16th, 2012
12:51 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney aides, Secret Service block press from event rope line

St. Petersburg, Florida (CNN) - Press aides for the Romney campaign and a lone Secret Service agent attempted to physically block reporters from asking questions of the GOP contender along an event rope line in Saint Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday.

The brief altercation was captured on video by CNN. A spokeswoman from the Romney campaign later called it "an error."

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"We're not going to do this," Romney press aide Kristin Warren can be heard saying in the video as she held out her arms to prevent various reporters from approaching the rope line, an area where Romney was shaking hands with supporters.

In the video, Warren can be seen standing in the way of New York Times correspondent Michael Barbaro, Los Angeles Times correspondent Maeve Reston, and Politico reporter Ginger Gibson.

"This is for the governor to talk to voters and when there's B-roll opportunities, we'll bring folks in," Romney's traveling press secretary Rick Gorka explained to CNN. B-roll is additional footage of a subject shot by television cameras in addition to a speech.

Minutes later, a Secret Service agent instructed reporters to move away from the rope line.

"Unless you're escorted by staff, you have to come off," the agent said in a separate video captured by CNN. The Secret Service does regulate the flow of journalists in and out of campaign events. But agents do not typically prevent reporters from working along the rope line.

Reporters eventually made their way within earshot of Romney. He did not answer a shouted question about the Obama campaign's latest attacks on Romney's business career at the private investment firm Bain Capital.

Romney has at times appeared frustrated with reporters' attempts to ask questions along the rope line. But on other occasions, the candidate has responded to such queries.

Late last month, Romney seemed eager to answer a rope line question about whether he would have ordered a mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

"Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order," Romney quipped after an event in New Hampshire.

Prior to the St. Petersburg event, tension between Romney's staff and reporters had been building.

On the press bus en route the event, a Romney press aide instructed reporters there would be no questions for the contender.

Reporters immediately protested and part of the ensuing uproar made its way on to Twitter. "Press lead on the #Romney bus announces there will be no questions for the candidate today. "'Isn't that our decision?' a reporter asks," tweeted Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Murray.

After the event, a senior Romney adviser acknowledged to CNN the rope line dust-up could have been handled better.

"I want to fix this," the adviser said.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul described the events as "an error on the part of the campaign staff and volunteers."

"We have reminded them that press is allowed on the rope line to record the governor's interactions with voters," Saul said in an email.

Secret Service spokesman Max Milien explained in a statement the service "does not restrict the movement of the press into general public areas or their movement within these areas."

- CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Atta girl, Mittens. Keep being a bully as you run from your record. Yer a psychopathic piece of work you are.

    May 16, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Candidates are there to campaign and interact with VOTERS. The press is there to cover it, NOT interfere with it or hijack the event for their purposes. If they want interviews than request them. Reporters being obnoxious jerks should be asked to leave. These events are NOT all about THEM.

    May 16, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Rickster

    If I was a republican nominee I wouldn't answer any questions from the liberal hacks in the media either. Good job, Mitt.....see you in The White House in January.

    May 16, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Richard Miller

    Must a carry over from his high school bullying days.

    May 16, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Bill

    Sort of sounds like the old "W" tactic of only talking to friendly audiences at scripted and pre-screened events. He will never be elected.

    May 16, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |

    He avoids the press except only if it's FOX NOISE, just like the quitter from Wasilla.

    Wimp much, Mitt?

    May 16, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |

    Keeping reporters away from the ropeline because you can't handle hardball questions or you'll stick your silver foot in your mouth is very cowardess Willard. Man up!

    May 16, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. gg

    now if only they can keep the press away till november–mitt can keep talking about nothing

    May 16, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    the NY Times, LA Times and Politico get blocked. Just watch as Washington Times, NY Post, and Faux Snews people get escorted to the front while citizens are pushed out of the way. Softball questions only Flippy

    May 16, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Oh that Mitt... Truly a man of the people... or not...

    I think the people need to omit Mitt come November!

    May 16, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Un hunh. They have established a "no gaffe" zone. Didn't I tell you yesterday that that is what the Romney campaign is going to do. They want to minimize the gaffes, which is exactly what they had to do with Sarah Palin.

    May 16, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. roscoe

    This smells of a Palin like attempt to limit interaction with the press. Not a good sign for Mitt. Maybe Bristol will join him on the campaign trail and help answer questions for him.

    May 16, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. julie

    @ rickster......the ONLY way willard will see the white house is when his driver is driving him by the white house HA

    Obama 2012

    May 16, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Tex71

    Is it a requirement for Republicans to brutalize or intimidate someone at every public event?

    May 16, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. freidamurray

    Oh those silly reporters... always bothering Romney with those pesky questions about his run for POTUS. How dare they! Afterall, Romney has told us all we need to know... he's laid out his foreign affairs policies, his economic policies, how he's going to bring America's values back, how the country will run so much better under a Romney administration. What? He hasn't? Hmm.... Oh well, we should vote for him because he is Mitt Romney, who needs to know what his proposed policies might be? That's TMI for the American people.

    May 16, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    "We have reminded them that press is allowed on the rope line to record the governor's interactions with voters," Saul said in an email.

    Why doesn't she simply tell the truth and that is Willard is too stupid, too slow and too unprepared to answer ANY questions without the help of Ann and his Bush advisors. Three words for you Willard: MEET THE PRESS.

    May 16, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. king

    I wonder what. The repubs are hiding or not saying. Their mantra for the past 3 years is to blame every thing on this president while not offering any solution of how they will fix what broken. Theyve plotted to destroy this country by telling the gullible they will do better as they are busy blocking anything that this president put out their to work. Mitten only solution is the bush failed policies and the European austerity measures that have crippled their continent, this means they cannot talk about it, so their only bet is to focus the gullibles on the mess they're obstructing this president from getting out of, so they can have something to fight with.

    May 16, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. macrasta

    so only the media run by Murdoch gets through??

    May 16, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. demogoat

    When was the last time he answered any questions, he has been very quiet for quite some time.

    May 16, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. once upon a horse

    @ Rickster...

    I guess you think that Mitt should only get "softball" interviews from FoxNews. I would love to see him get grilled by some REAL news media and not fakenews.

    May 16, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. NVa Native

    RoMoney needs to learn from the Bimba from Wassalla experiance.
    It only makes you look weak to the thinking majority of Americans if you can't take on and speak coherently on legitimate news media. And going on the RNC channel (fox) only works with zombie fox followers – who already are in the bag for any and all RNC puppets.

    May 16, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    The secret service was probably worried Mitt might tackle one of those pesky reporters and try to cut their hair...

    May 16, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Jules

    He has to do this because he never knows what is going to come out of his own mouth.

    May 16, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Marie MD

    Come on flip flopper, who do you think you are sharon angle? Another crazy from your party? What's next a run for it?
    This is also what they did with the imbecilic moron from AK after her interview with Couric. They had mcnasty sit with her for one more interview and then they told her to shut her trap.
    You are going to have to answer the real important questions which will include what happened to your 2011 taxes, where's your long form birth certificate and, most importantly, when are you going to stop telling lies about what the President has done and stop the flip flopping and stand up like a man. Oh yeah, you are not a man of principles or character so that's going to be really hard.

    May 16, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. demwit

    A total lie!
    Since we all know the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Politico are too good at pimp themselves out to have problems with the Sercet Service.

    May 16, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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