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. Sue

    Great, we have a bunch of 6 year olds running for president...I will do it if he does it.

    June 19, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. Indy

    The headline should read "Romney has a long history of heckling " the President and the middle class, for seven long years Romney has made a career out of heckling anyone and everyone that wants the best for the majority of Americans

    June 19, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. sqeptiq

    Wade, I won't leave but I will follow Romney's example and get as much of my money out as possible.

    June 19, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  4. tstorm92

    Could Romney be a bigg er "empty suit' if he tried? This man stands for NOTHING. Has NO new ideas. He seems "amazed" to be standing in a Walmart! Romney has his bank accounts overseas, worked for a company that cannibalized small companies and sent their jobs overseas, never served in the military and couldn't find America on a world map! He is only being supported by the GOP because they know they'd have a talking head to do the far rights extremeists bidding! No thanks!!

    June 19, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. Tyler Durden

    There is an idea of a [Mitt Romney]; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply am not there
    AMERICAN PSYCHO

    June 19, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. josh gonzalez

    Both sides need to be heard. He was driving around Obama's event honking the horn? Romney is not ready to be president.

    June 19, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. alleygator

    Of Course Romney supports hecklers. With his campaign war chest he can hire thousands of them.

    June 19, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Ron

    It would be diffcult to heckle Rommney.....he really has no opinion about anything other than to critize the POTUS

    June 19, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Mike

    The GOP babies from their failed policies to their failed elections are now crying more and louder than ever. Boo Hoo

    June 19, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    Mittens doesn't even have respect for the office he's trying to win. how pathetic he is! and Wade, you better hope all the liberals don't leave if, God forbid, Mittens wins. we're the ones with the brains. the country would totally collapse. not that it won't under another disastrous rethug regime. 'not all republicans are stupid, but most stupid people are republicans.' no truer words were ever spoken! used to be, in the good old days, every village had just one idiot. these days, some states have whole villages of idiots. they're called RED states!

    June 19, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. sara

    @CM. A reporter Asks his question when the President STOPS speaking...not interrupting his speech...NO matter WHO the president. President Obama has answered "tough" questions while having the "tough" job of stopping the economic decline of this question, along with enduring the constant Racist comments of the "underbelly" of our great country. Romney has no plan, won't ANSWER questions unless he's at Fox studios.

    June 19, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  12. Maeve

    Oh for Pete's sake. Grow up, Mitt. This,"I'll stop if he stops" and "He did it first" stuff should have been left back at prep school with the bullying.

    June 19, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. g

    of all the rich folks the republicans could have picked they pick willard the robot and to make more borring you can,t talk about religion or the patriot thing -the only thing he says is bomb iran–obama bad–

    June 19, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. karl_with_a_k

    America has a long history of racism and bigotry as well. Doesn't justify it or make it right.

    June 19, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. mhklein

    Heckling isn't civil discourse whoever does it. Sounds from this story that Romney started. If so, he should stand down first. Doesn't sound like he wants to. Shame on him.

    June 19, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. Ken

    Yeah, whip out the scissors Mitt!

    June 19, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Clowns To The Left Of Me Jokers To The Right

    So I guess when Fast Eddie Rendell the former Gov of PA shows up to disrupt a campaign event of Romneys and he has to move it that is just business as usual for Axelrod right? No dirty tricks there...

    June 19, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. Sunny sky

    Someone should heckle his wife's million dollar show horse, he said it is good for health, but she doesn't even ride it.
    The man is really out there, and could care less about all the repubs posting here. Get fox to allow posts again so you can all go home.

    June 19, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  19. Natalie

    What would we expect from a guy who cut the hair off of someone as a prank? Sorry, the excuse that he was young does not cut it. He shows his true stripes over and over again. No thanks; not Presidential material, Romney!

    June 19, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. ted

    Seeing Romney sitting in that Rambler the other day reminded me of Jerry Ford when he said he was a Ford, not a Lincoln. Sorry Mitt but you are a RAMBLER, not a Lincoln and we know what happened to Ramblers. Most got crushed and made into soda cans. Good luck in November.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 19, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. Ashley from Ohio

    I'm counting the days until my next town hall meeting with Mitt. He ain't seen nothing yet.

    June 19, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. Can't we all just get along?

    The politicians on their campaign trails need to be heard. Heckling them does little but create confusion. I don't care which side the politician is on. Let him/her get their message out. Often, hecklers are on a completely different subject and just trying to make the news, not actually ask questions or get a statement. Asking respectful questions at the right time isn't heckling. It's getting info. Time should be given for Q&A. There is a difference, however, between Romney and Obama. Obama is the POTUS. Romney isn't. At presidential news conferences, impolite interruptions, in disrespect for the office, should not be allowed. Bush went so far as to make all attendees at his rare news conferences sign statements that they would not interrupt or go off the carefully prepared questions, lest they be banned from all events in the future. Obama doesn't do that, and most other presidents haven't. The press has it's chance to ask tough questions at the right time. Let's have a little decorum and stop acting like spoiled children, OK?

    June 19, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. CBR

    Mr. Romney will only comment on ideas by the Obama team. They are never quite right and he does not think people can be persuaded to stop heckling. That was a problem in the last election and it will be a problem forever unless those in power discourage their backers from heckling. Sometimes you have to take a stand.

    Unfortunately, some politicians, journalists, college students and professors, and tycoons think this is okay and continue to do so. Every time it occurs those who wish to hear the remarks are losing out. Their rights are being denied.

    June 19, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. GaryB

    This tells you just about everything you need to know about Mitt's strength of character (or rather, the lack thereof). There's a huge difference between protesting outside an event, and drowning out the voices of people critical of you. But then again, Mitt has made a point of surrounding himself with yes-man, so I could see why he would want his supporters to drown out anyone critical of him. Mitt just can't handle the truth.

    June 19, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. judith

    Mittens is so out of touch with reality that he feels he can score some points by supporting hecklers. This is a man so afraid of displeasing his voice he'll pander to the lowest life form on the GOP side, such as the birthers and the racists. Mittens has neither a spine nor a soul.

    June 19, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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