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. Save Us Jeebus

    They don't want reporter to ask Romney questions....he might answer! Then it's a week of damage control.

    May 16, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. anotherGDlefty

    Who will protect you when the time comes for a debate Willard?

    Be a man. Do an interview outside of FOXPAC.

    May 16, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    from the Lizard of Crawlin Backward ~ "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."

    I'll save this for “replay” when the President won't waste time with Bloviator O'Really, or the Beckler, or some of the many anti-American neo-con propagandist.

    May 16, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    Some "leader". Most smart people figure Willard to be spineless, but these continued cowardly acts of ducking reporters is making it so clear, that it can no longer be disputed by even the Guardians of Plutocracy.

    May 16, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Max


    It's seems as if Romney is bent on 'BULLYING' his way into the White house. He is doing his job campaigning, shouldn't the press be allowed to do it's job reporting from campaign events?????

    Romney is simply proving that he is STILL a BULLY!

    May 16, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Peggy-TX

    Mr. Stuff shirt does not want to be asked any hard questions he does not have a prepared answer for. He will only talk to Faux News, and will not the “Bias Liberal media”, which in Faux news speak means any organization that actually reports the truth from time to time, rather then like Faux news, which and serves only to spread fear and lies for the GOP. I saw Faux News last night and I throught it was just like an SNL skit, in the way they mimic a real news outlet, but the jokes were not funny at all.

    May 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Someone in the press corps must have asked him about that car elevator again.

    May 16, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Jrdz

    Poor Mittens Can't Handle The Truth and Can Only Take Softball Questions From Fox Fake News Corp What A Sham A Real Flip Flopper.

    May 16, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Kelli

    His staff tells him what to do and say with his BIG DONORS......people if you vote for Unfit Mitt beware. Because he has alot of makers out there (weathly makers) that will cash in. He is not for the people.

    May 16, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    These clowns are Obama supporters anyways doing nothing but harrassing Romney with the Democrats talking points and trying to interfere with Romney's campaign. I believe the correct and accurate term is "Democrat shills". I'm glad Romney does not allow them to hijack his campaign and message. Romney is looking better and better with each passing day.

    May 16, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Bill, NY

    Actually a very good idea due to the fact that Romney has no real answers.

    May 16, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. NVa Native

    Just more evidence of what a weak person Mitt is – along with his being a spoiled school-yard bully.

    May 16, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. California Gary

    Ducking the press never seems to work.......don't know why some politicians continue to try. You can run, but you can't hide.......eventually, you have to answer the questions. Just ask Sharon Angle how well that running (in her case, literally) from the press worked out for her in that Nevada senate race.

    May 16, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. NVa Native

    Why yes, thought based questions would be considered harassing or “taking sides” as far as the right-winger extremists are concerned. Heck they still think basing questions let alone policy on science and fact instead of (their favorite) "truthiness" isn't fair.
    GOP is just a bunch of sissies who are afraid of everything – especially reality.

    May 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. rightytighty

    The Sercet Service is merely following the proceedural changes made since Media Matters proved that journalists and/or progressive ant-gun idiots are not above carry firearms when it suits their own selfish wants.
    And of course, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Politico REALLY want Obama to win re-election.

    May 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. chris

    Obama 2012 – BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE:

    Then that will be 16 years including 8 yrs of Bush's Mission Accomplish.

    May 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    California Gary - Ducking the press never seems to work.......
    So when is Obama going to appear on Fox News for an interview? Or does he restrict himself to the comedy shows (understandable and appropriate considering his performance) and The View where the questions are are accompanied by a lot of backside smooching?

    May 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. cali girl

    Duck and Dodge Robmey up to his latest tricks.

    May 16, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. v_mag

    That's exactly how I'd characterize Rob-money's candidacy: an errorl

    May 16, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Mario

    Romney the BULLY strikes again!

    May 16, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Romney answering questions? Why would we think his aides would allow that? They saw what happened in 2008 when Palin was allowed to answer questions.

    Romney is the 2012 Palin. Just as pretty and just as stupid. And just as adored by the vacuous rightwing underbelly for the VERY reason that he plays so stupid just for their benefit.

    Like Palin, Romney won't be answering questions from the press, unless it is the pre-screened softballs thrown by the FuksNews media lords.

    May 16, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. NamePaynesme

    King Romney does speak to underlings unless it suits him, the old trickle down effect. The King eats like a glutton at the table, throwing crumbs to the poor. The rich get richer the poor have their safety net

    May 16, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    He's scared - just like most bullies.

    May 16, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    ...BEND.... asked:

    ...So when is Obama going to appear on Fox News for an interview? ...
    He already has. He appeared on the O'Reilly factor last year for a private interview. It was the one where Bill kept asking questions and then interrupting Pres. Obama whenever he began to speak.

    You mean to tell us that Fox News has been lying about that, too? I must have missed that. Are you saying that Fox News is now spreading the lie that Obama won't appear on their network for an interview? Why am I surprised? They seem to lie, deceive and mislead their viewers about everything else.

    May 16, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. FactCheck

    Romney is looking better and better with each passing day.

    I said it before and I will say it again, please get back on your meds.

    May 16, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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