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. bradb

    hmm. it seems that Obama side at least MADE some effort to stop the heckling. Can't say the same for Romney side. In fact it sounds like he's encouraging it. We've become a nations that lives like a reality show. Sad.

    June 19, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. sayer

    Romney has no class.

    June 19, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. 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

    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.
    Sooooo, if Romney wins, will anyone who disagrees with him have any rights? By your logic, you have claimed the right of revenge-against what? People who sought to correct a system that had the middle class with stagnant incomes while the uber-wealthy keep getting more? How do you expect the Cayman Kid to understand what real people go through? The answer is NO. His intolerance of Gingrich, Perry and Santorum during the debates gave a very real indication of an arrogant, testy, petty man who sees life in terms of business, not in terms of ideals. Mitt has no ideals, but he is more than willing to seel his soul if it gets him what he wants.

    June 19, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney is like the "Headless Horseman", nobody knows who he is or what he stands for.

    June 19, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Pander Bear

    The difference here is that Mitt is sending out campaign workers to heckle the President whereas Mitty's hecklers are doing so of their own accord and are not affiliated in any way with the Obama campaign. Just another instance of why this spoiled overgrown frat boy has no business running for the Presidency. Money does not buy class.

    June 19, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. usstruth

    The left hates it when you use their tactics against them. Romney is the first Republican presidential candidate to take the gloves off and answer the Alinsky style tactics in kind. It has been a long time coming and Axelrod is off his rocker if he thinks this is a tactic born of the right. This comes straight out of the 60s liberal movement.

    June 19, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. normajean @ verizon ,com

    This man hasn't the dignity nor integrity to be president....He has had a number of opportunities to step up and show a little honor and decency correcting something that was nasty and uncalled for but he just can't do it. When something occurs such as Limbaugh insulting that student speaking to Congress and Romney was asked about it...he wasn't decent enough to condem it!...This man is a wimp,always has been and always willl be....Someone asked ...."what does he believe in"....He believes in money and that order......NOTHING ELSE!!!!

    June 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Olaf Big

    "America has a long tradition of heckling and free speech...." What exactly is he trying to say? That heckling is free speech? Are we now going to shout over each other all the time because each of us has the right to free speech?

    June 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. max

    Both will condemn it and say this is not my fault, it's the superPAC, and we have no direct contact or influence on what they do or say. Tell me another one please. The rich on both sides of the Isle are goingto cotrol ths election, more than any other in history. I think are concern starts there an then branches out to where what and when is congress going to do something that is right for the American people? Grid lock gets us no where while you all keep collecting a nice check??? Something is wrong here and I think many are are missing it, we all kinda want the same things, and the people that we elected to do right by us are doing right by themselves and we are the ones suffering most. A depression or recession for them only means that they can invest more and make more on the recovery while the average American is now finds himself living in his or hers kids garage. A a reckoning is coming and I reckon soon! reacking is coming and I

    June 19, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. Tom

    Just imagine, two idiots fighting over who will do a better job running this Totalitarianism government. Sound like kids in a sand box, cry, cry, cry, he took my toy. Bozo's, both of them.

    June 19, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. mannerly

    Romney keeps showing us what a bully he is. He is very aggressive towards his opposition, whether they are republican or democratic. He bullies, but never tells us what's really on tap for us if he wins. There is no moral compass there, just be pushy and get what you want, because he is used to having everything His way.

    June 19, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. citizen9

    Is that Mitt's bus horn I hear in the distance?

    June 19, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Tim Granger

    Romney has beliefs...he believes that he should be president, that corporations are persons, that not taxing the richest Americans will somehow create jobs (nevermind that it didn't work under Bush)...

    Mit wants those of us in the 99% to know our place.

    June 19, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Jim

    Willard has no spine, hi is the etch-a-sketch man after all. "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything".

    June 19, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Gloria

    Folks need to be civil and allow candidates and those speaking for them to be heard. Free speech is one thing, but allow the speakers to speak and be heard!! If both sides are guilty, then both sides need to stop this childish, immature behavior. It's fine to protest, but do it using some decorum and sensibility.

    June 19, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. steven harnack

    Republicans invented the false flag operation. I wouldn't put it past the Romney team to pretend to be rude Obama supporters just to get their own base excited. The Republicans ALWAYS try to work on people's emotions rather than their intellect which is why fear plays such a large part in their pitches. They do it because it works and some people seem drawn to help them cut their own throats.

    June 19, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. Russ in Md

    I hate it when people like you just babble complete nonsense.

    June 19, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. Squigman

    There's a lot of resentment in the United States. The resentment comes from the hate radio jocks, as well as the news media where news is more noise, and the need for ratings outweighs the need for accuracy. No one person is to blame, many are responsible. The biggest contributor to the problem is gullibility of the public. The republicans thrive on under educated, easily led people eager to believe anything they are told. WAKE-UP.

    June 19, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. dnick47

    @ OBAMA You show the type of unthinking Fox Newsie that supports Romney and his bag of bull. Your remarks tell me that your probably foaming at the mouth with nothing but hate... hate for the sake of hating. If you Romney supporters can not do anything but hate, please keep it to yourself we do not need to hear your matta, "Zeig Heil! Zeig Heil!! Zeig Heill!!!!"

    June 19, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. TNPatriot

    farcier93, the media isn't the one shifting the dialogue to "something like', Romney himself is the one shifting it by his own asinine remarks. It's just a shame that he usually makes these ridiculous statement when he attempts to demonstrate how much in touch he is with the middle class. He does such a great job of shooting himself in the foot his secret Service detail should make sure that he NEVER has any firearms within reach, for his own safety.

    June 19, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. marcuscassius

    I don't see Romney as any more focused or effective than Boehner. And having a slogan of 'Make this his last year as President" is not a plan to improve things. he just doesn't seem to know how to lead.

    June 19, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Mark1

    Romney crew's complaining about heckling is like one brother telling his parents that the other brother "hit me back first".

    June 19, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. walmart conservative

    Hey Mitt glad you don't mind it because I am sure you'll get yours. Lookout for Irish Joe Biden the man is on a role, heck Obama should lookout Joe might overtake him as well. Oh wait I am conservative oh but wait I am American so I vote for who I please. Leave guns alone, make banks accountable, develop ALL energy resources and I may be for you.

    June 19, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. In order to pay for tax breaks for Mitt, the GOP has decided to turn off the light at the end of the tunnel

    Kayla – Bullies are cowards deep down inside. That explans a lot about Romney.

    June 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. judith

    Of course, Bully-boy Romney would defend heckling. Much like his bullying abuse (and hair-cutting) of a fellow prep school student, Mitt has the mindset that would give any type of heckling his blessing. Just like refusing to criticize the extremists in his own party, such as those at the "faith and freedom" lunatic convention last weekend, he turns a blind eye to even the most outrageous criticism of the President. Mitt is the biggest phony I've ever seen run for office. He also claims not to be a "politician" when he's been running for office for nearly two decades. Phony, nasty and the ultimate flip-flopper–that's pretty much the biography of Willard M. Romney.

    June 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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