Romney: 'America has a long history of heckling'
June 19th, 2012
01:57 PM ET
6 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. Lenny Pincus

    Really? A long history of the press heckling a president mid-speech? Is there some reason wingers have no concept of history?

    June 19, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. Rodney in Dallas

    Just goes to show that Romney is a follower and not a leader.

    June 19, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Dick Hertz

    When you don't listen to the "Hecklers" then they turn in to Terrorist. Then they'll get your attention. One way or the other.

    June 19, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. sassysticks53

    @Wade; You ask how could I support what President Obama is doing to this country? President Obama tried to help the middle class; he tried to help working Americans; he tried to make sure Americans have health care. How could you support a candidate who wants to carry on the same failed policies that got us where we are in the first place?

    June 19, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. firecoachk

    Oooooh, look - Romeny is wearing jeans. See there, he's just a REGULAR GUY! Bring on the cheesy grits and let's talk about "sport!"

    June 19, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. Armine Zohrabian

    Romney will defend anything Obama is against.

    June 19, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Donkey Party

    The time for civility is passing. Conservatism, and all its ignorant, illiterate, racist supporters need to be eradicated, not just for the betterment of the country, but for the betterment of humanity in general.

    June 19, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. jim

    @ wade ... for the most part, yes ... i have gotten what i wanted with obama. a thoughtful, considerate, intelligent leader who is working for the benefit of ALL americans, what i HAVEN'T gotten is "bipartisan cooperation" and i lay the blame for that directly with the republican party.

    June 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  9. gman

    Hey, Obama has color and grew up not wealthy, We can do whatever we want with him!!! He does not deserve respect.

    June 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. Cindy

    Romney is a shameful man. He acts like a coward. Doing the things that a bully would do. Understand he will not release his 2008 tax returns, because he paid no tax in 2008. I also understand he took a $77,000.00 tax deduction for his horse, which he claimed as a business expense. If he is elected the country will sink into another recession, possible a depression.

    June 19, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  11. The GOP needs to pack up and leave

    The GOP deserves to be heckled.

    June 19, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  12. Reddog9500

    It isn't just the heckling, it's the whole political climate that disgusts me. Campaigns get nastier and nastier every election cycle, and frankly I'm sick of it. the supporters of every candidate shout down the opposing candidates and there is no civility whatsoever. I'm so tired of American politics that I'm tempted to just say "to hell with it" and not even vote. It's gotten so the one who wins elections is the one who spends the most amount of money defaming the other guy, and I'm tired of it.

    June 19, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Willard falls a little short on leadership qualities. Oh I forgot, republicans don't lead, they just follow the Tea Party!

    June 19, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. Mary

    Just because America has a long history of heckling doesn't mean one has to condone it. American schools have long history of bullying also, does it make bullying alright. Mormons have a long history of polygamy also, does it make polygamy right?

    Mitt has again shown he will pander to the conservatives. Remember he didn't say anything when Rush called Sandra Fluke vulgar names?

    June 19, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  15. Indyswimmer66

    Does this guy (Romney) sound really petty... small... to you?

    June 19, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Can you say President Romney? I sure can!

    June 19, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  17. demshateusa

    Better get used to saying President Romney!

    June 19, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. Frankie

    Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

    June 19, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  19. cathyinAZ

    Let's ask Romney IF he wins the presidential race and is interupted from the floor of the house how he feels to be heckled or during an address from the Rose Garden. He will change his tune on THAT like he does everything else. To Wade: IF Romney wins, we will behave not leave the country and sit back and watch the continuation of the downhill slide Bush started. It's like Jeb Bush said, neither Bush 41 OR Ronald Regan would satisfy the wacko's that have taken over the GOP!!!!! When the first duty of the GOP, per McConnell, is to obstruct BEFORE the man even takes the oath of office, nothing was going to succeed. SHAME SHAME SHAME. I HAVE NEVER MET a republican I could trust or admire and still haven't.

    June 19, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  20. Really?

    @ Keeth
    Get serious. Romney does not support heckling and bullying. And, our current president is trampling on our constitutional rights. Anyone who thinks it's constitutional for the government to force us to buy insurance is a traitor. And PLEASE don't give me that €rap about having to buy auto ins, we are not forced to drive a car.

    June 19, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  21. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Obama polices towards these Latino children and young adults are not that deifeerent than Reagan, Rick Perry or Marco Rubio for that matter.◄

    You are right – the problem was getting the Republican Senators, including Rubio, to act on it after Congress passed the Dream Act 3 different times with some Republican support??? That's the difference!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    June 19, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  22. The GOP, an all american disgrace.

    There's always been incivility in politics, but when a presidential candidate REFUSES to condemn or stop heckling, that's a new low. The GOP are trying to turn America into a banana republic.

    June 19, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  23. New porter

    America has a long history of heckling...and cowards...of which Romney is one. In exchange for a coveted membership into the most exclusive club in America, Romney s willing to become sausage to the far right. No thank you,bubba.

    June 19, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  24. mfx3

    Doesn't sound much like a leader to me.

    June 19, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  25. ronb

    Poor Willard. Still can't pretend to be presidential. Heckling your opponent? Seriously, Willard??!

    June 19, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
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