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. donnie

    just what dignity are you talking about RS. maybe he will circle the senate and honk his horn? Milk toast gets what he derserves. Obama is once again the only adult in the room. Vote the republican weirdos out. Forward. 2012

    June 20, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    @RS, CA - really ... REALLY! He's part of a political party that continues to disrespect the Office of the President ... just look at their latest caper ... a presidential library portrayed by a bullet-ridden outhouse! Civility is clearly not a part of the Republican Party.

    June 20, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Critical Thinking

    What is amazing about this is that CNN continues to keep this story item up for almost 24 hours as their lead item to this section. With all that is going on with Fast and Furious and now the President providing executive cover to Holder, I think CNN should run a different lead. Is that too much to as for a NEWS NETWORK?

    June 20, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  4. Catherine

    Mommy, he's doing it too! Is that anyway for an adult to act? Good thing his kids are grown because that is one heck of an example he's providing. No Mr. Romney, heckling and disrupting speeches is NOT OKAY, it is RUDE. I really want to give Romney a chance, but the more he stonewalls on stating his positions and the more he defends this kind of behavior, the less I think I can trust him with the stewardship of the U.S. let alone act on our behalf with foreign nations.

    June 20, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. Dave

    It's a lot easier to heckle and to criticize than to actually come up with ideas and positions of your own. Mitt is proof positive that money can't buy class or brains.

    June 20, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. griffbos

    LOL sorry while I laygh, Mitt has no backbone, he will not restore anything just continue to swing in the wind for a vote, if it is something about his past that puts him in a bad light he can't remember it every happening, yet if it is something that might make him ;look good , it lacks any truth or reality, as hi sonly goal is to be President hold the tilte , pass the buck while never really doing anything...........

    June 20, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. 2020

    What else is new? Romney choose to dance with wolves, a whole pact of them. He never understand questions asked of him, and never give relevant answers. like a retard.

    June 20, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. dave

    As nice as it would be to not have negative campaigns, time and time again they prove to be the most effective method for winning.

    June 20, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. Dave T

    As we saw with the Tea Party and the healthcare debate, heckling is what you do, when you don't understand the issues, don't want to learn anything and don't want to have a civil and intellegent discussion about them

    June 20, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    If someone yelled "you lie" at a Flip event, the GOP would shout themselves into a lather about decorum. They on the other hand, have none since they openly hail Joe Wilson and the tightie rightie interrupting Obama last week and make them out to be "real Amurkins"

    June 20, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. USNDV

    It's what obama would do

    June 20, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. MikeInCarolina

    Romney could have scored a point for civility in politics. Instead, he chose to defend the low road. Obama may have started out poor but he has shown that he has a more class than Romney could ever hope to have. Only in America !

    June 20, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. snowdogg

    Let the heckling begin... errr continue.

    June 20, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. Bus2Futhur

    KIds kids kids, if you make me pull this bus over......

    June 20, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. Mike

    Other in his party have reacted harshly when criticized. Republicans have "plants" that show up at democratic speahches for the purpose of heckling. When democrats do that the republicnas cry foul. When they do it it's acceptable proving that they are in fact no better than democrats.Hey Mitt. Would it be too much to ask that you actually answer the question instead of being so evasive? If you want my vote, better start giving answers.

    June 20, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. deathstalker187

    Mitt is such a joke seriously.

    June 20, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. MikeInCarolina

    BTW, most of us heard the term "Executive Order" long before we heard of Barack Obama. Conservatives defend its' use when a GOP POTUS uses it and cries foul if a Democrat does; just one of a thousand examples of GOP double standards that thoughtful voters won't ignore when we go to the polls in November.

    June 20, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    This is something both sides are guilty of. The difference is Republican Hecklers refuse to recognize the dignity of the office of the President of the United States. If any Democrat had dared call out "You lie" whenever Dubya gave a speech before Congress the Karl Rove machine would be going full bore against him, tagging him by innuendo to every possible and impossible thing that ever happened, including complicity on the part of his grandfather during the Pearl Harbor attack. Republicans, on the other hand, tend to honor those of their party who heckle by calling them great patriots.

    June 20, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. oldbear

    From now on at every Obama rally:

    Release the docs, Release the docs. Stop the cover up. Stop the cover up.

    June 20, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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