Romney aides, Secret Service block press from event rope line
May 16th, 2012
12:51 PM ET
3 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. JohnOBX

    Carter may not have been the greatest President, but it's hard to find fault in his post-presidential efforts. Why is Romney picking on him? Oh, right, because Romney is stuck in the 1970's.

    May 17, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  2. Liberal4Obama

    Mitt Romney is the "decider". Won't answer any questions.

    May 17, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  3. scottf

    Sound familiar? Does this sound like a movie we have seen before? Let's see, Palin, Perry, Santorum, Gingrich? Romney suffers from that Right Wing disease called don't ask me any questions where I have to think or actually answer with facts, better known to the rest of us as the truth. They simply go to Fox News and the whiner in chief Sean Hannity to field questions that my miniature schnauzer could answer. Romney spent millions on negative publicity to destroy Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, and now Obama. And as soon as the Obama campaign returns fire he whines, hides from the real press, and an runs like a yapping puppy to his masters at Fox News- The home of Rupert Murdoch and the telephone tapping hipocrits. This guy is not only an untrustworthy dork, he is a whimp.

    May 17, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  4. Niko_in_Richmond

    If it's not scripted, Romney wants no part of it.....

    May 17, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  5. Joseph Smith

    I can't think on my feet but I want to be POTUS...wow, how scary. Romney is a joke. The Mormons must be ashamed.

    May 17, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  6. Joseph Smith

    Vote for Romney = Vote for a Police State

    May 17, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  7. jthomasin

    Harassing reporters is something probably typical in a Romney presidency. Right back to the secrecy and lies of endless wars and tax cuts for the wealthy.

    May 17, 2012 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  8. Che Harden

    He is such a joke.He seems arrogant.He has that my way or no way look.He can make statements that aren't 100 percent accurate and then hide when it comes to addressing them.The Republicans only want him to maintain power and Congress.He s so smart,but doesn't realize after he loses they don't have to deal with him anymore.He is their sacrificial lamb:-D

    May 17, 2012 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  9. cj

    How interesting the excuse to not speak with the press and only speak with voters. The press is monitered by voters 24/7. Perhaps that is why mitt is too scared to deal with the bain issue. He thinks he can play hide and seek till october? Not a great way to sell your brand to the general electorate. Even republicans know this. Must be why they have decided to circle the wagons and dig in for a long term defensive play. Btw....how many superbowls were won by only playing defense? Mitt is a wuss. Be a man for once in your life mitt!

    May 17, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  10. kjswartz

    Baseball has an interesting statistic called "Errors". Seems that Mitt has been conveniently padding his stats.

    May 17, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  11. Ant

    Here we go not even presudent yet.

    May 17, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  12. bear

    He did this because Anne couldn't cover his you know what.

    May 17, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  13. chris

    Mitt and his people are tring to win at any cost. The SS agent's boss said it was not the job of the SS agent.So did the SS agent brake the law by violateing these people's 1st amendment rights? Should he be asked to resign? Watch out for double standerd.

    May 17, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  14. clarke

    It is hard to find good help any more.

    May 17, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    If you want to ask Mitt Romney questions pertaining to his presidential bid, you must submit your questions in advance so that they could be screened, studied and given the etch-a-sketch test so that there are no oops moments! So pathetic!

    May 17, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  16. Craig Mellor

    Didn't see anything damning in the video? The press is no longer, nor has been for several decades, out there to report the news........they all are their for sensationalism and to trying and embarass candidates from both parties. The press is a living, wlaking, breathing joke anymore............

    May 17, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  17. Kim

    If Romney hasn't been given a list of questions, coached, developed or doesn't have a teleprompter you can't get within 10 feet of him! "Mr. Romney! What color is the sky?....."I'm not going to deal with this today! The American people deserve better! We are facing major issues and you, the media just can't seem to fathom this concept!

    May 17, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  18. Mike

    This is still at the top for the political ticker? This news is so yesterday. And it is not even news! Just another manufactured controversy to make Romney look bad.

    May 17, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  19. dave

    WOW! Holding off the press with Secret Service Goons. Just like Lenin would do in Russia or Hitler would have done in Nazi Germany. Secret ruling reclusive boss. Just like in Communist Countries. Nice going, Mittens.

    May 17, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  20. Jeb

    Mitt Romney wants to run his campaign through Fox News & other sources who will not ask him questions about his tax returns, Cayman & Swiss accounts, assaults, horrible job creation as governor or Bain Capital.

    May 17, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  21. Wake up people

    What do you expect from such a weak candidate? What's he going to do if he becomes POTUS let Anne handle the press? This dummy never talks to anyone but Fox News. How anyone can think this vulture is qualified for the office of POTUS is ludicrous.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 17, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  22. GI Joe

    He's sooooooo afraid the truth will come out of his own mouth.

    I DO NOT TRUST HIM.

    May 17, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  23. jennymay

    If one has intelligent, logical things to say, one would welcome the press to help share the message.

    May 17, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. Marie MD

    Seems that bullying is contagious. Anyone pinned some one so that the sociorobully could cut their hair?
    I hope they don't have bomb sniffing dogs around because we all know how much he likes to torture animals.
    He does all od this laughing. Is he a psycopath

    May 17, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  25. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    HOW CAN ANY PERSON VOTE FOR THEIS MULTIMILLIONAIRE??? He is only for the 1percent as you will find out if he is elected and the middle class disappears as education and jobs DISAPPEAR!!

    May 17, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
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