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. Mark

    As long as we all vote in Nov. and we make sure the Republicans don't steal the election like they did in 2000, he will be a distant memory by next year. These are some really sick people, not even recognizable as what used to be The Rupublican party.

    June 20, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. i want a mega rich Mormon who hides money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    I thought this was about the economy? , guess not. Robme is nothing but a bully. I'll stick with the community organizer.

    June 20, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Tim

    Obama, whether some people like it or not, is the POTUS. As such, he deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. He's not. Romney would've done wonders for his campaign by denouncing heckling and reminding people that that POTUS deserves respect. I'm sure he'd want it, should he eventually claim the office.

    June 20, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    I'm sure then Mitt didn't mind his son being heckled in AZ by Ron Paul supporters. The problem with this is that such behavior can become not only personal but ugly. I recall the names then candidate Obama was called at the Palin rallies, names she claimed to this day she never heard.

    June 20, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. shadubee

    Heckling/bullying has been a Romney tactic going back to prep school: e.g. holding someone down and cutting their because he was "different." To heckle Romney all you have to do is ask a viable question in an attempt to get a truthful answer, as Bill Schaeffer did by asking if Romney would repeal the Dream Act, and this in a simple one-to-one interview.

    June 20, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Luke Brown

    America also has a long history of boneheaded, self-serving politicians.

    June 20, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Lionel

    The school bully Romney does not want to end this behavour. I can't believe the how his bus circled the building that Obama was speaking at and honking its horn. No bullies should be president of the USA. Romney should also apologize for picking on that kid in high school. This is a sign folks.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    June 20, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    And by the way,saving our Auto industry and ending the illegitimate Iraqi war and bringing our troops home to their love ones is not considered dividing or destroying America and neither is it considered heckling republicans! I'll give you an example of what is considered dividing and destroying America or heckling! They include asking the President of America to show his birth certificate, threatening to revolt if the President is re-elected, refusing to obey orders from the President and Commander-in-Chief to re-deploy to Afghanistan while asking the President to show his birth certificate,driving around with bumper stickers or printing newspaper articles calling for the assassination of our President, name calling such as Muslim, terrorist, socialist, food stamp president, liberals on handouts and food stamps, illegals and saying that republicans and tea partiers should stand their ground and never compromise with democrats in congress and so on!

    June 20, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Darryl

    Romney still acts like a disgrunted High School student.How immature and irresponsible.And he wants to be POTUS?

    June 20, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Marty, FL

    It unfortunately confirms just how out of touch Romney is.

    In that regard, can CNN please post the new Bloomberg poll?

    June 20, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. allens

    this is who he is. out of touch with society and the basic rules of decency a civilized society follows. basic kindness. he says he is a christian, but his actions show otherwise.

    June 20, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. lies from the right but mostly hate

    Romney wants to be potus he's too immature.

    June 20, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Phil Thomas

    Your congressman/senator is more responsible for this economic mess, they shaped policy in many cases for 10-30 years. Only an uninformed clown would blame a President who took office at the height of the downturn and has been in office for less than a quarter of the time they have, this is a case study in how TV, talk radio & political ads can shape opinion even an a age where information is at your finger tips. Romney though is a comical I tried to give him a chance but its funny watching him switch positions as the wind blows. No policy but he has something to stay about every step the president takes not a counter opinion just that its wrong

    June 20, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. Strangways

    a quick trip to FIX Noise (aka Fox) shows you that shouting down your opponent is a long-cherished Republican way of communicating. If you don't like the message, just scream longer and louder than the other guy. Hey – it worked in the 2000 SELection, why not today, right?

    June 20, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. RS, CA

    President Romney will be awesome and will restore dignity and respect to the office of president.

    June 20, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. GI Joe

    Heckling has been around for a long time - so let's keep doing it.

    Liars have been around for a long time - so let's keep doint it.

    Is that what he's saying?

    June 20, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. FLIndependent

    Does Romney take a firm stand on anything? His response that he doesn't think it's possible to come to an agreement is very telling on how he will govern as President. He IS NOT presidential materia! FORWARD 2012!!!

    June 20, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Hiring tea party extremists to blow up the rig in the Gulf of Mexico to make the President's job more difficult and hiring a deranged gun-man to shoot congresswoman Gabriela Giffords and others in Arizona is considered dividing and destroying America, domestic terrorism and heckling in the first degree!

    June 20, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |

    Good for nothing,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Bad for this country,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Guys learn ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,fast,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    June 20, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. CarrotCakeMan

    So heckling is just one more GOP Dirty TrickĀ®, huh?

    June 20, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. James

    @ RS, CA
    okay enough of the sarcasm or is that your actual answer because when push comes to shove Romney is not off limits to hecklers either. He will have to have answers and he better have them or he is done. Romney will not be able to dodge the questions when asked he has been doing.

    June 20, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. emma

    Do you not adore this man for his compassionate, respectful principles re: conflict? And his treatment of a classmate with a hairdo Mitt did not approve of?

    June 20, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Marty, FL

    RS, CA
    You can't be serious. Romney's promotion of childish heckling is not respectful nor dignified for the office of presidency.

    June 20, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. FLIndependent

    "heckling and degrading is the Democrats way. Let's say for instance...Obama's camp doesn't refer to Romney as Gov. Romney or Former Gov. Romney, they call him Mr. Romney"
    I've heard them refer to Mitt many times as Governor, however I assure you that every Repub that I've heard refers to President Obama as Barak Obama, never "President" as they want their followers to not recognize him as the current President. "President" trumps "Governor", so who is showing disrespect?

    June 20, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Rationalintn

    If I get the chance to heckle Mitt, I'll ask him why Mormon churches tell their followers to hoard storerooms of food and supplies? What do they think is going to happen? A major catastrophe? It's a bit confusing for non-Mormons. Do they know something we don't know? And now one of their church leaders is running for president?

    June 20, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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