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. dah00

    Sure there is a long tradition of heckling. That doesn't mean one has to condone it. I will vote for Obama, but I do not approve of people shouting down other people whether Dem or Republican.

    Great leadership on this, Mitt.

    June 19, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Peter

    CM wrote:

    "At this point, CNN is describing anyone who asks tough questions of Obama as a heckler"

    You are not supposed to interrupt a speech by The President of The United States with a question yell out at him!

    "The only difference right now: Obama isn't supposed to be subject to any rough treatment"

    Who said that? He is probably getting some of the roughest treatment I have ever seen a President get. People questioning that validity of his birth certificate, his Harvard attendance, claiming he is a closet Muslim, and yelling "you lie" in the middle of a State Of The Union Address!

    "How dare anyone interrupt him with something that isn't on the teleprompter?"

    Oh brother. I won't even answer that tired, old, worn out talking point.

    Oh, you do know that Romney read his last three acceptance speeches from a teleprompter, right? Right?


    June 19, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. danel

    spineless and flip flop Romney! Enough said.

    June 19, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Larry L

    It just occurred to me that old "Truth and Nothing But..." went away. His hateful and mindless ranting got so foolish nobody would even comment. But then "Obama – Protecting the rights of ILLEGAL ALIENS to invade our country while SUING states to make sure they can vote as well" came on the scene with exactly the same sort of illogical, Fox News-inspired nonsense. Could there be a connection?

    June 19, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. karla b.

    Mittens wil do or say anything to get into the white house. If he thinks hecklers will help his cause I have no doubt he will hire as many as he can find. He has no principles and only thinks of himself. If you thought 2009 was a bad year you should know that it will be nothing compared to what Mittens will do when he brings back the Bush financial policies that got us into the recession in the first poace. He is just a one percenter looking out for other one percenters.

    June 19, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. ChuckB

    A Zebra never changes his stripes. He was a bully in high school, and now he repeats that behavior. Romney's worst enemy is his ego and his smarmy smile. He really thinks he is exceptioinal.

    June 19, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Peter

    "Democrats do dirty tricks, not the Republicans"

    Oh my gawd. The denial is amazing.

    Ever heard of Karl Rove, sweetheart?

    June 19, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. karla b.

    So that is what the CEO's office in a waffle factory looks like.

    June 19, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Blue

    Mitt is so lame. He is a sissy that likes to bully.

    June 19, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. keith

    Big surprise from the man who doesn't take a stand on any issue. You are showing real leadership there, MItt.

    June 19, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Wade

    What will you liberals do when Romney wins? Please say you'll leave the country. A lot of you said that you would when Bush was running, but nobody left, maybe this time some of you could really go.

    June 19, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. keeth

    We have a long history of slavery and murder as well, but that doesn't make them right. Romney endorses heckling and bullying. And we want him leading our country? Awesome! Let's roll into Syria with Russia and China fighting a proxy war on the other side (or to the Romney camp, that would be the Soviet Union and Mao's China).

    June 19, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. Wade

    You liberals are just losing it. How can any of you support what the prez is doing to this country? Is this really what you thought you were getting when you voted for this guy? Come on, be honest.

    June 19, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. OPEN400

    In a historic moment to emancipate a whole group of Latino children and young adults living in the shadows, for a heckler to try tio ruin the moment is beyond outrageous. Obama polices towards these Latino children and young adults are not that deifeerent than Reagan, Rick Perry or Marco Rubio for that matter.

    June 19, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. 111Dave111

    Seems Rmoney has nothing to say, wants to win with slick ads by Oil Co.s.
    He is embarassed that Obama's ideas and speaking is so much better than King Mitt.

    June 19, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. Logic N LA

    Heckling a speaker is childish. Having your campaign bus circle an event is amateurish. Putting a dog in acarrier on top of your car for a long drive is thoughtless. Pinning down a gay kid and cutting off his hair is illegal.It seems Mitt is improving with age but still a bully in 2000.00 suits

    June 19, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. yogi

    Romney has offered absolutely no ideas how to improve the economy simply because he has NO IDEA how to. This man is a coward and would be a disaster if he were president.
    Obama 2012!

    June 19, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Sandy Oh-Yang

    If this idiot wins, he'll make W look legit. God help us all. What a loser.

    June 19, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. MikeInCarolina

    Mr. Romney, either you support more civility or you don't. Saying "I'll be more civil if my opponents are" reflects a lack of integrity on the subject. It says "If you're bad, that gives me a license to be just as bad". What ever happened to doing what you think is right no matter what others do? Score a point for Obama who doesn't dance around the subject when it comes to bad behavior.

    June 19, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  20. Wade

    Hey OPEN400,

    The policy isn't the problem. The way the president went about it however was just plain outside his authority. He said so himself. Of course that was before he was about to lose his job.

    June 19, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. Shannon

    Romney is the typical Republican, he plays the victim when he is actually the perpetrator. Is there a Republican left that has any ethics at all.

    June 19, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. Larry L


    "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."
    You assume (incorrectly) that the "Occupy" movement supports President Obama – they do not. I've not heard President Obama call Mitt Romney anything but "Governor Romney". I have heard "Mr. Romney" refer to the President many times as "Obama". I've also heard many, many conservatives refer to President Obama as "Barry", "Obammy", "Obummer", and they frequently use his middle name to emphasize his father's Muslim heritage. You are delusional to consider Democrats as the more nasty of the two parties. Remember Ted "Mr. Crappy Pants" Nugent's rant? How about the "birthers"? Death squads? Palin-around with terrorists? Racist signs and slogans at Tea Party events? Wake up.

    June 19, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. Kristina

    Romney has no class or backbone. He has no integrity, obvious by the fact that he won't tell his supporters to be respectful. If he can't even handle his supporters, how can he handle international leaders?

    June 19, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. 111Dave111

    Wade no 'liberal' or moderate is going to leave the country, nor are we unpatriotic.

    Romney refused to serve in Vietnam. It was common among Republicans: GW Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, Quale, and many more. None of Romney's 5 sons have served in Iraq (1 or 2) and Afghanistan.

    June 19, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. SDN

    Someone chose to take the high road. It wasn't Romney.

    June 19, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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