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."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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. Orwell Sees it

    In a Romney admin, the press will be told hat to write, else they be riff'd.
    Liquidating the govt is busy bizness, these clowns don't need to slow him down.

    May 16, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. carly

    Welcome to Romney's right wing America. Shut up. I will tell you when to speak. So much for free speech. Look out Americans you will be in hell if Romney and his right wing nuts get elected in 2012.

    May 16, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. once upon a horse

    I persoanlly would LOVE to see Obama on FoxNews with an interview.....better yet let him be on Fox and Friends on the couch with their beloved three. It will NEVER happen and one reason it won't is because the president will be there to DEFEND himself against the barbs that the Fox folks put out and perhaps even show FACTS (ohh that dreaded word right wingers despise). People like Hannity, Palin, and most of them attack the president when he is not there to defend or dispute their attacks, and that is the way Fox likes it. Case in point the Bill O'Rielly interview where he interrupted Obama so many times it wasn't even worhwile looking at. Or the time Obama was having a debate with some on the right about Healthcare and when it seemed Obama was winning the debate, Fox cut it off and went to other programming. FoxNews supporters are in a bubble so why bust that bubble by having Obama on to speak his side of things.

    May 16, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |

    @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

    He already has; for instance, on 5/12/1. You fail. Your inane posts are funny. Have a nice day. 🙂

    May 16, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |

    That is, on 5/12/11.

    May 16, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. ProperVillain

    Romney is far too important to be questioned by riff-raff commoners! How dare those reporters! The gall!

    May 16, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. Eric

    Mitt Romney is to weak to be president and if elected this country will suffer behind weak and perhaps idiotic leadership.

    May 16, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. s

    Just like Palin, STUPID

    May 16, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. alleygator

    He didn't want the reporters to see that his jeans weren't freshly ironed.

    May 16, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Just think, he could be the King.

    May 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. JOHN

    The press should stop covering him. An empty press bus would send a strong message.

    May 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. cf


    May 16, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. Martha in CF

    I agree with John-stop sending the press in to cover anything Romney does.....No more Romney stuff--yeh

    May 16, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. DNC-CNN

    I missed DNC-CNN's story about Obama's campaign supporters collecting cell phones and placing them in plastic bags before an event so no more embarrassing recordings are made ( ie."They [average Americans] cling to their guns and religion – Obama")

    May 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. mein kamph

    You vill stands balk and not approach our leader! Ve have sings ve do not vant you to hear.

    May 16, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. maximusvad

    He is very afraid to ad-lib anything to the press. His elitist brain will spew ignorance all over them without being coached. He need a "safety net".

    May 16, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Republican Class Warfare

    Jeez, that's what a Romney event looks like? Obnoxious country music and barely being able to move between the sweaty white haired pillars of wall street lichkings, yuck. I would much rather go to an Obama event where there's at least some soul. Speaking of soul, did Mitt ever have one?

    May 16, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. gg

    the republicans are not using religion or the patriotic thing or the bush policys all mitt has to do is stand on stage and look white and keep saying nothing

    May 16, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. T'sah From Virginia

    MITT-Sarah will only answer questions for Fox News!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    May 16, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Satch99

    OK, so if Romeny and GOP is so anti-Gov't spending, why don;t him and his cohorts (and Dems too) who can afford Private Security, pay for their own or reimburse the Gov't?

    Jeez, Mitt has $250,000,000 and he can;t pay his own frggin' securuty protection?


    We should set a Net Worth amount for a candidate to get protection or have to reimburse the S.S. if they are worth more than that amount.

    May 16, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. J W N in SC

    Great idea......NO PRESS........then listen to him whine!

    May 16, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. bg

    These stories show how highly the journalists think of themselves. It's not a story worth reporting – a really insignificant moment – but a very big deal to the journalists. So it gets reported as if the rest of America cares.

    May 16, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. swaziland

    Interesting. The Free Press is selective with freedom.

    May 16, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. terry

    spokesman says, get used to it. we don't want any more questions about the mormon cult, er, religion.

    May 16, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Texas Annie

    Maybe Romney is like our nitwit Governor who refused to debate his opponent in the last election here. (After seeing Perry in the national spotlight, I guess we know why he didn't want to debate his opponent here!) And yet, brain dead voters still voted for him.
    Romney doesn't like being held accountable for his words. Wake up people!!!

    May 16, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8