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. Sandra

    What Romney means is that it's not possible for him and the Republlicans who make disrespect of this President a common occurrance. My mama always told me that God doesn't like ugly and that what goes around comes around. The Republicans will reap what they sow. I have never seen a more disgusting sight than the continual and venemous disrespect for this Presidne. It is unprecedented.

    June 19, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. Russ in Md

    "There is a difference between heckling the President of the United States of America and heckling a failed Governor. Just one more thing that Romney is clueless about being the president on. Respect the office."

    Your ignorance is beyond compare. Romney has the exact same rights to respect as the president.

    June 19, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. SCOTO

    This guy REALLY needs to stop wearing jeans.

    June 19, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Maxx

    He's such a spoiled, rich, frat boy

    June 19, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. Harry Baxter

    Seriously, people; why should we listen to anything that this man says? This is a candidate who deplores the national debt, and then we find out that in the 2010 tax year, he and his Wife received a tax deduction of $77,000 for the care and feeding of Anne's Show Horse, apparently as a medical deduction, to help her alleviate the pain and suffering from MS.
    Do the math, guys. In order for someone in the 35% tax bracket to receive this deduction, even assuming that it was legal, Mitt and the Ms. would have had to spend $220,000 on the care of this horse. It's worse than that, though. I think that the Romneys, thanks to their excellent tax accountants and existing tax loopholes, were in the 15% tax bracket in 2010, so the actual expenditure would have been $513,333! That's a lot of oats, and remember that Anne only had a PART ownership of the horse.
    Do you Romney supporters REALLY feel that this person has any ability to relate to the common man? Don't make me laugh.

    June 19, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. V.P.

    Romney is a big joke and why is he calling people dogs. "I won't call off the dogs." Really what an immature person, and this is the Republicans choice for president? I don't know why President Obama's name is even in this article, everyone should know by now that he doesn't condone hecklers etc.

    June 19, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. cedarrapids

    "CM – At this point, CNN is describing anyone who asks tough questions of Obama as a heckler, so in this context, I don't blame Romney for not playing the game by Obama's rules."

    romney's supporters were the ones that started the heckling, remember that.

    June 19, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. MCJNY

    That sounded like we need some adults in the room. Badly. I am offended by the number of americans who are treating this presidential race like a sporting event. It's not. this is serious. Its not team vs team, party vs party. It's best idea. And so far, I haven't heard any.

    June 19, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Ross

    To me, this is appalling. Heckling?! Its sad to me how immature, classless, and disrespectful the Romney administration is. how other americans cannot see this is beyond me.

    June 19, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Russ in Md

    "Remember republican congressman JOE WILSON who heckled the POTUS on live TV for the whole world to see and hear? 'YOU LIE!' Wilson is the most disgusting heckler I've ever heard."

    The truth always hurts, doesn't it?

    June 19, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  11. Ralph

    It would be nice if the cnadidates would stick to the facts! But I guess that would be to much for them.

    June 19, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. rs


    The people who "cheapened the Prresidency" are the ones who decided on Inauguration Day 2009 that they wouldn't work with him-on anything and felt like they could get away with it. The Republicans made Congress irrelevant through their obstruction and inaction, and they have twisted themselves into logistical pretzels denying their own policies (like Cap and Trade, or the Individual Mandate) simply because the President has incorporated them into his policies. Look- the Republicans simply don't care anymore about who they hurt just so they can avoid giving Obama a victory on anything. That unfortunately now is the vast majority of the American population. That my friend, is what cheapened the office, not the honorable fellow currently trying to save this country from the GOP's and George W. Bush's disaterous Presidency, or Mr. Romney they think can replace and be just like him.

    June 19, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. trex

    ...heckling is GOOD?....................Well, ok, as long AS YOU INSIST. Here's my heckled question for Mittens.............IF YOU CANT STAND UP TO TRUMP, AND SHERRIFF APARO, HOW CAN YOU STAND UP TO PUTIN AND AMADINEJHAD?

    June 19, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Mitt Morman

    A Mitt Morman is like an Egg McMuffin it is only good once in a while but always better than burnt toast.

    June 19, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Brian

    America has a history of a lot of things. Would Romney like to talk about the history of his church? He has side-stepped this question in the past.

    June 19, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. streetdude66

    Romney is so scared of his public record he he and his team rather than face the music yell, honk horns cry whine wet the bed and snot themselves to drown out the truth about themselves. If Romneys that much of a coward imagine what type of war time Pres he would be. Pathetic excuse for a man

    June 19, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. ManWithThe1000PoundBrain

    There is a big difference between what happens on the campaign trail and decorum on the House floor during the State of the Union or on the grounds of the White House. We DO NOT have a history of heckling in the later cases. It's called, "etiquette" and "respect" for the office of the President of the United States, regardless of whether you agree or not with the President's policies. There are reasonable times and places for "free speech." Anyone that interrupts the President, whether republican or democrat, while having the privilege of being allowed to attend a White House press briefing should be promptly booted to the street and not allowed to ever attend again. AFTER the President is DONE talking, then ask whatever questions you want. Until then, keep your dumb, rude, obnoxious, disrespectful, uncouth mouth shut.

    June 19, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. wonfish

    The truth doesn't hurt unless the so-called "truth teller" intends to be hurtful. For example, Joe Wilson.

    June 19, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. thomas

    Right Romney – you act like a spoiled rich brat and you blame everyone else – accusing them of the ones that start all the problems, create the issues.

    June 19, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. NJChicago

    What's wrong with saying there should be a truce, instead of waving the white flag?

    June 19, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    Then why did you run away from protesters on Saturday like a little kid Willard. If you arrange to have your bus honking a horn prior to our President speaking and act like you did on Saturday that is more proof you are unelectable.

    June 19, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. GreenMileNamesake

    "I could assure you that we do not believe in unilateral disarmament," Romney said on Fox News Radio.

    Could? What does he mean by 'could'? This man's choice of words and sentence structure is horrible.

    June 19, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Cheryl Jefferies

    Interesting: It's o.k. for paid, professional hecklers sent by Axelrod, Obama, and Soros to heckle Romney. But, it's not o.k. for someone to question Obama. Romney handles his hecklers with humor and wit. He told the ones here in Ohio that they were welcome to stay "on that side of the street and heckle. People who wanted jobs and a better life would stay on his side of the street and listen and participate." Obama loses his temper and stalks off in a huff...after haranguing the reporters (it was more than one, by the way). And, it wasn't the first time. Didn't he jump all over one of YOUR reporters, CNN, not long ago...for asking a question he didn't want to hear or answer?! Hmmm...which one is the stronger, more stable person? No contest. Romney. Hands-down.

    June 19, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    Willard has no class or respect whatsoever. Remember all of the whinning about his wife? And that was simply around a fact – how will he react if faced with a dictator or a really serious matter.

    He is an EPIC FAILURE.

    June 19, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. DIANA

    Does Romney stand for anything?! Remember when Rush called Sandra Fluke the "S" word. His response was that those were not words he would have chosen. What words would you have chosen Mittens? I would respect him more if he did like McCain and condemn those people, instead he's encouraging them. Is that the President you want? Guess what, encouraging heckling won't get you respect from Iran or North Korea.

    June 19, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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