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. frag

    If Romney is elected, will he take the oath of office of the bible, or the book of Mormon? "So help me Joseph Smith?"

    June 19, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. chuck

    Benton got kicked off the Ron Paul team and now its led by Lawyers for Ron Paul. That may be why he does not endorse the claim.... He is part of the problem. Follow the rules and listen to the people. If you do that then Ron Paul will win.

    ONLY !!
    Ron Paul 2012

    June 19, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Kathleen Farrell

    Once a bully.... How would he be if his wife were treated like women on the other side. :"For a good time call....." Can he find the right words to use when Montana state republican contention-goers so deeply insulted our first lady, our secretary of state and our minority leader.

    June 19, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Stella333

    Driving around the parking lot, shouting and honking? That is pathetic. Romney, you are running for President of the United States, not presidet of your college fraternity. Try to muster up some dignity.

    June 19, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Pat Farnsworth

    From someone who was a bully when he was younger, this doesn't come as a surprise. Romney is the kid everybody hated and feared. He was too rich and popular to stand up to, unless you could beat him up. He'd probably pay someone to get even, though. I sure would be ashamed if he were elected President.

    June 19, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. DaveinPA

    How ironic! In his recent visit to Milford PA he changed location at the last minute to avoid hecklers and protestors!

    June 19, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. BILLC

    Romney clearly has no respect for the high office he seeks. You don't interrupt POTUS when he is speaking. The height of disrespect.

    June 19, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Tom

    Willard Romney would be the dorkiest president of the USA.

    June 19, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Tom

    Listening to Willard Romney speak is like watching wet paint dry.

    June 19, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Tom

    Willard Romney has the personality of a dial tone.

    June 19, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Kris Craig

    Uh oh! Looks like some bad PR for Romney. Time to shake the Etch-a-Sketch again....

    June 19, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Jesus Christ Superstar

    I'm pretty sure that A) the people who heckle Obama are Romney supporters, and B) The people who heckle Romney were members of Occupy, who don't really support Obama. I have an idea, maybe Romney and his cronies can act like adults? Nah, that won't happen.

    June 19, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Doc_Hollywood

    Romney is just a spoiled, little super rich brat. He has no class to be the commander in chief. He reminds me of a child who cannot entertain his own thoughts and beliefs, but instead resorts to childish games. He doesn't understand being civil, as he's had enough money all his life to have others conform to his beliefs and kiss his ass. I hate to say this, but at this point of listening to him, it's possible that Palin has more class than him. But just barely.

    June 19, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Tim

    The behavior is wrong on either side and is a reflection of the political discourse today, but let's remember a couple of things: this started with Conservatives – see Joe wilson, Tea Party etc. and secondly Barack Obama is a sitting President. Mitt Romney is an ex Governor. Big difference.

    June 19, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. John The Electrician

    Rightwing hardliners are proving they just have NO RESPECT. Therefore they deserve NONE.

    June 19, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. curious

    Rmoney, has taken pandering to a new low. Republicans are not voting for Rmoney. They are voting against President Obama, as they did in 2008. That seems to be OK for rmoney. America should fear this man. Rmoney is not presidential.

    June 19, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Hillcrester

    Romney is unfit to be president. Period.

    June 19, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. frag

    Romney will lose it during the debates. Wait and see.

    June 19, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Hillcrester

    Lost in Mitterland–

    The three scariest words in politics are what you ended with: "if he /Romney/ wins.". Let's make sure that doesn't happen.

    June 19, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. The Dude

    Why would he want it to end? it is an excuse not to talk about the real issues.

    June 19, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. TomGI

    Time for the middle class to take the gloves off and let Romney have it in spoken and printed word at every opportunity.

    June 19, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Investment Advisor

    @Tom.. Great comments!?!?!?

    June 19, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Romney is in his own world $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    I won't vote for a man who has five sons , all of whom did not volunteer for military service during Americas longest wars. At the same time supported those wars.

    I Can't and won't vote the privileged Romney class , it's not the America of our founding fathers curage .

    June 19, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Investment Advisor

    @ Marie MD...I wasn't aware that Obama owned the turf in Ohio. Sounds like you have the inside credible scoop on Mitt Romney.

    June 19, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Caleb Herod

    Romney should repudiate things he can't control, like this comment.

    June 19, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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