Romney: 'America has a long history of heckling'
June 19th, 2012
01:57 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney: 'America has a long history of heckling'

(CNN) – Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Tuesday he would not call off the dogs in what's become a war of heckling on the campaign trail between his team and that of President Barack Obama.

Asked in a radio interview if he would condemn the practice, the former Massachusetts governor said "it would be a nice thing" for it to end but argued Obama's supporters would also have to stand down.

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"I could assure you that we do not believe in unilateral disarmament," Romney said on Fox News Radio.

During the last few days of Romney's six-state bus tour, the Democratic National Committee and other groups supportive of the president have followed the bus path and held protests at many of the Romney stops.

Their tactics came after Romney's team showed up at an Obama speech in Ohio last week and caused a stir by circling the venue and honking. Two weeks earlier, Romney took credit for supporters and members of his staff showing up at an Obama event to make noise and drown out speakers critical of Romney's record as former governor.

On Sunday, Obama adviser David Axelrod took to Twitter to condemn heckling by Obama supporters during Romney's bus tour.

"Shouting folks down is their tactic, not ours," Axelrod wrote. "Let voters hear BOTH candidates & decide."

The re-election campaign echoed those sentiments in a statement Tuesday and blasted Romney for declining to take a strong stance against heckling.

"We have sent a strong message to our supporters that this campaign should be an open exchange of ideas, not one where we drown out the other side by heckling and crashing events," Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt said.

Romney, however, said he was less sure both sides could actually come to that agreement.

"I know America has a long history of heckling and free speech," Romney said jokingly in Tuesday's interview. "It would be very nice if we could reach that kind of conclusion. I'm not sure it's possible for us."

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Filed under: 2012 • DNC • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (369 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    Don't say its wrong, because Obama's team already said it needs to stop.
    Remember Robmey, you can only go the exact opposite.

    June 19, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. n

    The man child speaks America. Romney is Peter Pan and this boy that never grew up, plays at being president of these United States of America, tell him to go back to Never Land. Get it, Peter Pan, Never Land! I know, don't quit my day job?

    June 19, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. cali girl

    It's also pretty juvenile when you have your bus circle and honk the horn at Obama events.

    June 19, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. chuck weidemann

    If you can't lead your own kind....what makes you think you can lead us all? Wake up people the realisation has to come....Romney is not a leader...he even acknowledge's this when he doesn't even try!!!!

    June 19, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Myviewis

    Democrats are the experts, they wrote the book on it. I am surprised Republicans are actually learning how to heckle. I do still say Democrats are better at heckling.

    June 19, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. eddieb

    The ingrance and disrespect that the GOP has given Obama since he has taken office. heckle on Obama supporters.

    June 19, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Obama - Protecting the rights of ILLEGAL ALIENS to invade our country while SUING states to make sure they can vote as well

    cali girl - Don't say its wrong, because Obama's team already said it needs to stop.
    =================================================================
    yeah... right! As they trial Romney's bus tour at every stop. Axelcrud and Obama are nothing but proven LIARS.

    June 19, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    figures that Mitt would be talking to FoxNews about this, the only outlet he seems to feel comfortable with. So now after having his bus follow the president around to places where Obama was supposed to speak, sending hecklers to Mass and also having his bus circle around in Cleveland, when Mitt was heckled in PA he wants Obama's folks to "stand down"? If you are so assured of what you have to offer the people you don't really need to do this kind of childish stuff. And so far the people have not gotten many answers from Mitt on what he plans to do to other than saying OBAMA BAD!

    June 19, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Patriot Awesome

    Romney is about as mature as a 3 week old fetus. Do you really want to give this guy access to nukes?

    June 19, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. rs

    And the GOP has a long history of "dirty tricks", especially since Nixon.

    June 19, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Debby

    Hecklers show how childish they are on both sides.

    June 19, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Expat American

    Republicans don’t really heckle. They actually stick to their message and really just focus their prejudices on minorities, non-Christians, women and gays.

    June 19, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Sandy

    N, thanks for the Peter Pan reference. That was perfect. LOL

    June 19, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Expat American

    ….Not heckling, but still chuckling a little over that whole ‘Horse Ballet’ thing….That must have been some leotard.

    June 19, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. cali girl

    Obama whatever, Axelrod already spoke out against it and asked the hecklers to knock it off. But your boy Robmey approves of his bus circling and honking.

    June 19, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Wes B.

    Wait. This is really happening? And Romney said he's not sure that two presidential campaigns can't go along without heckling each other?

    This sort of thing wouldn't fly in an election for 4th grade classroom president.

    Are you kidding me!!?!?!?!?!

    June 19, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Obama – Protecting the rights of ILLEGAL ALIENS to invade our country while SUING states to make sure they can vote as well

    cali girl – Don't say its wrong, because Obama's team already said it needs to stop.
    =================================================================
    yeah... right! As they trial Romney's bus tour at every stop. Axelcrud and Obama are nothing but proven LIARS.
    *************************************
    Remember the Tea Party supporters for Rand Paul, who heckled and stomped on opponants? Trailing a bus is pretty tame when compare to a beatdown, but I'm sure you think thats ok.

    June 19, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. livingston

    Romney doesn't mind hecklers – he just doesn't show up. In Quakertown, Pa on Saturday, when he found out that there were protester along with hundreds of supporters, he just blew off the supporters and didn't show up. Instead he went about 4 miles down the road and stopped there. His reason? Ed Rendell was there. So, while Romney's team drives their bus and hooks their horn around the President (like a bunch of high school kids), Romney runs from anything that might make him uncomfortable. What will he do if he is elected and a forgien country makes him uncomfortable? Hide in the bathroom? Yeah, he'll be a leader. He'll show you the best place to hide.

    June 19, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    America has a long history of RACISM too but that doesn't make it right.

    June 19, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Myviewis

    Do you really want to give this guy access to nukes?
    -----------------
    You're really using Nukes to scare people into voting for Obama? I wonder if Putin agrees with you or Iran?

    June 19, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    Let's remember one thing about Mitt: he's the CEO-type who cannot tolerate an honest opinion that differs from his own. While Governor of MA, he had an elevator roped off for his exclusive use: neither Weld, not Patrick, nor Dukakis, nor any other previous governor in the state's history went to such lengths to distance himself from people. This is a man who clearly can't handle an opinion that differs from his own: remember how upset he got with Newt and Santorum when they called him on issue after issue? He's an aristocrat taking a ride past the peasants.

    June 19, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Obama - Protecting the rights of ILLEGAL ALIENS to invade our country while SUING states to make sure they can vote as well

    "Shouting folks down is their tactic, not ours," Axelrod wrote
    ===============================================
    What a lying sack of horse puckey. The left and their union thugs have been doing this FOR YEARS and I'm glad that Romney isn't taking it lying down. GOOD WORK ROMNEY! The left actually throws items like glitter and pies at people which is assault and battery. People that do this need to spend AT LEAST a year in jail. Next thing you know it'll be battery acid and worse being thrown.

    June 19, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. sassysticks53

    The biggest and most disgusting heckler I've ever heard is s republican by the name of JOE WILSON.

    "YOU LIE!" The whole world heard it.

    June 19, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Jules

    So he defends heckling – I heard he also renamed their Olympic horse Seventy Seven Thousand Dollar Deduction.

    June 19, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Obama - Protecting the rights of ILLEGAL ALIENS to invade our country while SUING states to make sure they can vote as well

    Yeah, right... This from the Obama campaign and the guy that said:

    "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," Obama said at a Philadelphia fundraiser Friday night.

    June 19, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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