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. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    The difference between Democrats and Republicans. When someone heckles a Democrat, the person being heckled acknowledges the heckler and ignores him. As the heckler continues, those surrounding him make him feel like the idiot he is acting. When someone heckles a Republican, the heckler finds himself being whisked away by "extraordinary rendition" to an "undisclosed location" and all records of his existence are purged in a shredder in Karl Rove's office. The person's family are relocated to someplace in the middle of Montana no closer than 100 miles to the nearest settlement with 200 or more people, with no contact to the outside world.

    June 19, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. the Situation

    Good God! This guy is such a spoil child. This is who you want as POTUS. Mitts is a joke!

    June 19, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. GBfromOhio

    "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."

    Well put.

    June 19, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    IF he can't stand up to Trump he centainly can't stand up for the American people.

    June 19, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. realitybriar

    The difference is it was Romney's own campaign bus, with "Romney" painted all over it, that was driving around in circles blowing its horn. Just some more of that silly, prep school hijinks from Romney's Cranbrook days. Is he going to tackle some heckler and cut off his long hair next?

    June 19, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Brian in DC

    The Dems are up in arms that the Repubs are successfully using the Dem's tricks. Cry me a river.

    June 19, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. D.Raven Foncell

    Joe Wilson doesn't like them darkess! Bigot are more many then we think, race has always been an issue, and this President has indured my simple for he is black. The bigot, is "how dare you darky say that!" Whites want to be in control again. History shows that race to be the most paraniod! Asians, Latin , are growing in numbers, it never been "for all" with this bunch, it's just for them! romney says he's looking to get 51% of the vote, and with his buddy Trump, he's looking to get 100% of the raciest vote! Rat-Publicans care nothing for the public, it's all power, and greed for them. heartless, and rude are trates of the bigot! Sadly, they may just win. The shame isn't on them, it's on those who sit silently, and do nothing, which they count on!

    June 19, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Richard

    As soon as Romney takes office his minnions will be baptizing all the dead Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus. Zorastians, and whoever else they can convert to their cult. Make no mistak, the Mormon religion is a cult and it will never get main stream status. It was founded by a crook and a charlatan, and its being perpertrated by another Crook (vulture capitalists) and charlatan. Watch his smile when he disparages the president, he looks like Mephistopheles (a chief devil in the Faust legend). When the Russian people spoke about where the devil hides they say in the church. Willar Mittens Romney is a BISHOP in the Mormon (CULT) religion.

    June 19, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. JohnW

    So in other words, we'll stop if they stop. Even though we started it, we're doing it more, and we're doing it worse, we're not going to stop unless they do. Really grown up there, GOP.

    June 19, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. I'll Do It

    Mitt has his own group that heckles him if Obama's doesn't show up. And Obama has his own group if Romney's does not show up.
    With freedom of speech also comes responsibility; something that I think everyone has forgotten about.

    June 19, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Mittens is a big joke!

    Poor little Mitt Romney. He has NO plan, NO integrity and NO human decency. So, since he has nothing of substance to say he just calls out his dogs to bark at Obama supporters.

    Poor Pathetic Mittens.

    Hey Mitt, why not just get your prep school buddies to rough up the hecklers while you cut their hair?


    June 19, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Ol' Lefty

    Several of you folks say this a Democratic tactic. We didn't heckle ol' John or Sarah, that I recall. Seems Willard's people can dish it, but can't take it.

    June 19, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. MrRickinNH

    With the Romney campaign... the end justifies the means... what ever tricks, cons, misleading information is all fair game meant to grab the uninformed. No ideas about how to improve things accept the "trickle down" which has failed so miserably in the past.

    June 19, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Mary from dallas

    Here is someone that thinks everything is childish play & Americans (thank goodness not ALL) want him to be the president of a great country that preaches respect for one another. He is full of games. If he can’t stand up & condemn something that’s bad behavior; how can he stand up for other leaders of the world? He panders to everything just to win an election – this man is pitiful, no integrity and no good principles to live by, I feel so sorry for those who can’t see how this man is – a joke of all jokes.

    June 19, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Mike in SA

    Awww...people getting their panties in a wad because of some heckling. Heck, there has been heckling in politics since there has been politics. Get over it.

    June 19, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Cecil

    Just a typical class-less frat boy. Sheesh. I guess the Mormon cult doesn't teach manners. Really though, you can't expect anything more from a filthy cult member who tortures animals by strapping them onto cars.

    June 19, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. Gurgyl

    This guy is so pathetic. Nonsense to USA.

    June 19, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Sirned

    Hey Romney is it just like a frat prank for your Republican Convention in Montana sponsered by you to have in its parade an Outhouse riddled with bullet holes with a sign hanging on it saying Obamas Library. And written on the walls inside For a good time call Michele, Hillary or Pelosi...Is that O.K with you Mitt? Are you going to defend these disgusting displays of bigotry and hatred of woman too?

    June 19, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    What a bunch of children. It's disgraceful that politicians would endorse this sort of behavior. And it's shameful there are organized groups of people that conspire to keep speakers from being heard on the campaign trail.

    June 19, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Jim, San Antonio

    Hold him down and cut his hair off! This man is an idiot!

    June 19, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    Of course he defends heckling. This is a man who dressed up as a state trooper and never went to jail. He bullied a gay student in prep school and abused his dog. His team of morons paraded that ugly bus of his around President Obama's turf in Ohio.
    Who knows what else he has done which he considers a "prank".

    June 19, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. LostinMitterland

    And if Mitt wins, how is he going to handle all the Democratic Joe Wilsons that interrupt his State of the Union Addresses with howls and the screaming of insults? And believe me, there will be Democratic Joe Wilsons if he wins.

    June 19, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. DENNA

    What are you Romney, like 10 years old? If you think the Obama camp is not playing fair, why don't YOU be the grown-up. Oh, that's right, there ARE NO grown-up conservatives.

    June 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Brian

    This is childish behavior from both sides. Democrats have no business following Romney around and Obama should not have to put up with reporters interupting him. I'm a democrat and I would never interupt or heckle Romney if I seen him in person. Both sides should be embarrassed by this behavior.

    June 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Yakobi

    Egad, could Axelrod and the democrats be bigger hypocrites? They've heckled EVERY republican president I can remember, going back to Nixon! Now they're upset someone is using their tactics against them. What babies!

    June 19, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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