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

    The Extreme Court has decided that the rich can shout us all down with incessant, lying ads, so the only recourse for individuals is to physically shout down the guy at the microphone. This leads to more hard feelings, polarization, and eventually, somebody shoots somebody. When that happens, the Extreme Court will bear much of the blame.

    June 19, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. farcier93

    What if the media wants to shift the dialogue from economy to something like- Ann Romney wore a tshirt worth Z amount of dollars or Ann Romney has a horse or creating Mitt Romney's parody at Wawa. Nobody talks about 50% youth minority unemployment and 4.1 million dollars spent on stimulus to create a single job. Romney is a spineless rich coward- thats the whole argument presented to us in nutshell.

    June 19, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Luke Brown

    I was looking forward to Romney taking a stand on SOMETHING and this seemed like a no-brainer. What does this guy believe in, anyway? Why is he even running for President at all. At least we know what he thinks "would be nice."

    June 19, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. gregingso

    "It would be very nice if we could reach that kind of conclusion. I'm not sure it's possible for us." This from the man who wants to lead the most powerful country in the world. If you can't even get your most rabid supporters to follow your will how are you going to lead a nation?

    June 19, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. Myviewis

    Funny, I was just reading about the "Chorus of Boos" delivered by Democrats during President Bush's State of the Union speech on the Patriot Act.

    June 19, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. unitedfor1

    Why should he condemn the hecklers? The liberals and dems have been paying hecklers for years to show up at republican events.

    June 19, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Paul

    Rmoney is the least presidential person I can imagine. What a coward. What a chump. Is this seriously the best the GOP could do? I suppose if their mandate is to wreck the economy for everyone but the Aristocracy and impose Christian law on the masses, then really what difference does it make who is the figurehead.... but come on! Mittens?!!!!!

    June 19, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. NickAnast

    First, Rmoney sends his supporters to heckle and drown out David Axelrod, then he sends his supporters to disrupt an Obama speech, and then when the Democrats retaliate, Rmoney uses that as justification for his nonsense. Typical Republican dirty tricks.

    June 19, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. dreucalypt

    If he can't check Trump when he spouts birther nonsense, he certainly can't check his hoodlums. In both cases they are doing what they know he really wants them to do.

    June 19, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Roy

    Well, this comes as no surprise about the type of supporters the Republicans cater to. They don’t want you to hear both sides of an issue nor do they want a fair election process. And they simply hate President Obama! What’s worse is they can’t really prove why the dislike him so much! Nor can they provide any clear or logic evidence for what they think! They want to force their ideology and faith on all. There is a lady in my community who has a sign in her yard that reads: SAVE OUR COUNTRY! PROVE YOUR CITIZIENSHIP OBAMA! VOTE FOR A CHRISTIAN US CITIZIEN! VOTE FOR ROMNEY! What is so sad is that these fellow countrymen and citizens believe this non-sense! Which just goes to show they will believe just about anything they are told! They can’t and won’t think for themselves!

    June 19, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Larry L

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

    John – There is a difference between heckling the President of the United States of America
    =========================================================================
    That used to be the case but Obama has cheapened and destroyed the Presidency with his own highly partisan attacks while his union goons go out to intimidate and occupy like they did in Wisconsin. Enough is enough. No more playing doormat. Expect to get the same lefties.
    -------------------------------------------------
    You're delusional. Remember during the election of 2008 the Tea Party radicals with the racist signs and slogans? You've been brainwashed by Fox News. Romney has a history of low-class campaigning and this will be no different. He's a spoiled preppy with a bunch of bigoted, under-educated, fearful racists as fans. He could never lead with the maturity and class we see in President Obama.

    June 19, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. betterdays

    Barack Obama is the president, not the king.

    Democrats have been marching and chanting and shouting, screaming and drumming, throwing tantrums and throwing bricks through windows for decades. Not so much fun when you are on the receiving end of a little free speech, is it?

    Perhaps the president can sign an executive order and have his most vocal critics deported or taken out with drones.

    June 19, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. truth hurts

    >v_mag – The Extreme Court has decided that the rich can shout us all down with incessant, lying ads, so the only >recourse for individuals is to physically shout down the guy at the microphone. This leads to more hard feelings, >polarization, and eventually, somebody shoots somebody. When that happens, the Extreme Court will bear much of >the blame

    you need your head examined. you are nuts.

    June 19, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Sirned

    So does Romney also defend the Outhouse riddled with bullet holes with a sign hanging from it saying Obamas library and the writing on the walls saying for a good time calle Michelle? It was at a Montana Republican Convention sponsered by Mitt. The Outhouse was used in their parade....Romney needs to asked about this

    June 19, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Remember the rant by "Mr. Crappy-pants" Ted Nugent? He and his buddy Romney have a lot in common... low class behavior and a history of draft-dodging.

    June 19, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Guitar

    Another example of why we need to end political parties – as George Washington warned us about their formation in his farewell speech to the nation (google it, read starting on about the 18th paragraph). Putting an end to pol parties would mean we would all at least have to listen to what each individual was offering, rather than 'automatically' being against them because we favor a certain party. Think for yourselves people – stop being sheep! Change your voter status to 'Independent', (not independent party), that way you can actually say you know what each person really stands for and have made a choice based on facts and reason instead of delusion and complacency. Nothing will ever be accomplished as long as it's one party against another party.

    June 19, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. George

    What was Karl Rove thinking when he gave alexithymic Mitt that next-in-line deli ticket to hold? What a poor excuse for a human being weasel-worded Willard is, let alone a presidential hopeful.

    June 19, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well,
    WHEN IN DOUBT, RUN IN CIRCLES, SCREAM AND SHOUT. Is that what the Obama team left with?? No Jobs, No Prospects, No Hope. Well maybe thing will get better next month !! If not there is November.

    June 19, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. 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

    "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.
    ************************************************
    How did you feel about the people who heckled and threatened members of Congress during the Healthcare debate? I'm sure you loved that. Do you think the Rand Paul supporters who stomped a young woman should have gone to jail as well, or is that acceptable in your myopic view of things?

    June 19, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Ol' Lefty

    Willard needs to focus group the question of heckling or no heckling before he takes a firm (for now) position. Don't you folks know that's how the man rolls?

    June 19, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. Frank

    When isn't A**hole Mitt joking and lamely chuckling about something?

    June 19, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. He won't say

    And again, we have Mitt not committing to something. It is not in his blood...he is incapable. Heck, he couldn't even committ to Mass for another 4 yrs.

    June 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. DrCole

    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. This is very degrading in itself. The Democrats have also been some of the worst offenders of heckeling over the years...the OWS movement that would heckle during the republican debates and stump speeches. Now, just because someone is doing it back to them, they don't like it. I got an old saying for all of the Democrats that don't like the heckling being done to POTUS...if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Romney can obviously stand the heat and he's turning it up even higher. Way to go Mitt...beat the Democrats at their own game!!! That's my kind of President!!!

    June 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. craig

    "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."

    Just another demonstration of his complete lack of leadership. This guy wants to be our President? He can't even control the sandbox during recess.

    June 19, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. The Choobs

    Romney's sanctioning of his campaign busses circling and honking to drown out Obama rallies (yes they did this...for an hour or more!) tells us a lot about how immature and disrespectful a Romney White House might be. I don't see the Obama campaign doing anything like this. Romney is showing his hair-chopping bullieness.

    June 19, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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