Bow, New Hampshire (CNN) – A campaign rally for Mitt Romney was devoid of politics following a deadly shooting in Colorado Friday.
"I stand before you today not as a man running for office, but as a father and a grandfather, a husband and an American," Romney said in New Hampshire. "This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another."
A top Romney adviser said the candidate made the decision to set aside his usual stump speech to offer his own personal reflections on the tragedy.
"He wanted to say something," the adviser told CNN.
Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, introduced Romney to the crowd. Ayotte, who is rumored to be high on Romney's vice presidential search list, kept her remarks brief.
To offer a more respectful backdrop to the candidate's remarks, Romney's aides removed campaign signs from the event site in the early morning hours, an adviser to the GOP contender told CNN.
Instead, as Romney spoke to a crowd of approximately 200 supporters, an American flag was positioned behind on stage for the remarks. Another flag flapped in a light breeze overhead.
In his remarks, Romney said Americans' "hearts break" for the victims and families of the shooting, which took place at a movie theater outside of Denver early Friday morning.
"We pray that the wounded will recover, and that those who are grieving will know the nearness of God," Romney said. "Today, we feel not only a sense of grief, but perhaps also of helplessness, but there is something that we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy laden and we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado."
Ahead of Romney's remarks, a couple hundred people who came to watch to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee unleash his latest attacks on President Barack Obama instead were bowing their heads with Father Christian Tutor to pray on behalf of victims and their families.
"I ask all of you to join me in whatever way that you would like to offer a prayer for all those who are mourning and for, of course, our own nation under God," the priest told the crowd.
In an impromptu moment following his remarks, Romney stood just outside the seating area for his event, shaking hands and sharing hugs with nearly all of the supporters who stood in line to meet the candidate. "He just decided to do this," a top Romney adviser explained to CNN.
Tutor, the Anglican priest who gave the prayer and Sen. Kelly Ayotte joined him. Before he left Romney thanked the priest for his "very touching, very moving" remarks.
Romney's campaign said Friday they would pull television advertisements in Colorado.
In a statement released earlier Friday morning, Romney said he and his wife Ann were "deeply saddened" by news of the shooting, which took place at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado.
"We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice," Romney wrote.
An adviser said Romney missed having his wife at his side in New Hampshire. Ann Romney was in Michigan for a campaign event that was cancelled in response to the tragedy.
READ MORE: Obama, after shooting, tells supporters 'Such evil is senseless'
the fact that some of you are finding so much political crap to complain about is astounding. you should all be ashamed.
"This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another."
While accusing President Obama of hating America and the middle class. Riiiiight, Etch-A-Sketch, you betcha! ;)
"Lady Fair – How about we send Beck, Hannity, Fox foreign owned media, and you to Chavez, and keep our president?"
Very original Wire... you qualify for today's "I know you are but what am I" prize.
What the hell does waiting for doderation mean? Oh wait let me guess, if my comment doesnt offend the re thug party supporters it MIGHT be posted?
"but I'm proud of you as an American today"
How do you know he is an Amercian?
Have you seen his birth certificate?
His family FLED this country to keep marrying multiple wives, and I'm supposed to believe he cares about Amercia?
He protested in FAVOR of the draft, then fled to France to avoid it.
Guys, seriously. If Mr. Romney is guilty of capitalizing politically, then President Obama (My President and yours) is just as guilty (although the President lead with the first move, and cancelled his campaigning). I can't believe I'm about to say this, but cut Mitt a bit of slack today; at least he did the right thing.
This terrible tragedy just happened yesterday and Romney is already in the news.. Before he is through he will blame this on the president!!. Isn't it time to SERIOUSLY lay these killings at the feet of the NRA ands all of its supporters.??.. They are the ones who with their power and thirst for money have put guns in the hands of more people that shouldn't have than those who would be responsible owners. THIS IS AN NRA PROBLEM AND IS GETTING WORSE BY THE DAY.....IT'S TIME TO LAY SOME HEAVY LAWS ON THEM OR BAN THEM COMPLETELY!!!!!!!
People kill people not guns
Chris, everything Mitt has done since before leaving the Mass governors office, is with the White House in mind. He may feel exactly as he says....but how are we to know because he'll say anything....ANYTHING....that he thinks people want to hear.
Maybe Romney should callenge the NRA and get those weapons off the street. Oh wait, he's afraid of making them mad!!
This man (Romney) is FAKER then a $3 bill. Sometimes it's best to shut up!
This is so sad ... Maybe the Conservative wackos here are right ... you liberals can’t stop trying to use this as a way to slam Romney. Grow up and become a part of the American family. Some of our neighbors were just murdered ... they maybe neighbors that live thousands of miles from us ... but they are our neighbors still the same. They love the same freedoms we love ... the cry with patriotism just as we do ... they loved their families and friends ... they will be missed ... and those that survived will have their own set of trials...
Instead of trying to make political points from their grief and suffering we need to stop the cold hearted political bashing ... and if you can’t keep your mouths shut, then open your mouth to plead with God to comfort those who are the victims of the horrible evil act.
Good points Bob...but we know the only reasons Barak was put thru that was because of his name...and color. Any perceived issues on Mitt would be of a totally different nature...
His comments were well received. Kudos to Mitt Romney for handling this horrible incident with true presidential aplomb. He has my vote.
He was completely devoid of emotions to me! He couldn't even speak from his heart! He was reading from a written statement! I felt nothing from his speech n that's sad to me! When President Obama spoke,it made me cry bcz not only was was it heart felt,he unlike Robme,didn't need a compared statement,he spoke from his heart n u could feel his emotions n they were real! Now I'm sure Robmey n his wife r sad about what happened,but Robme is so stiff n emotionless,that his HUMAN SIDE is just not there! He just DOESN'T CONNECT WITH PPL!
I applaude both candidates for thier actions today
Romney: Obama mandated contraception so he might take your guns too
Romney says Obama will erode the rights of gun owners in speech to NRA
We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners," Romney told thousands of NRA members in St. Louis for their annual convention. "President Obama has not. I will."
Running for the Senate in 1994, Romney said: "I don't line up with the NRA." A decade later he became a lifetime NRA member.
It is a shame that the demretards can not take a break from the anger they have inside themselves. They hate religion, they hate happiness, they hate the rich that is why they are so unhappy. The tragic shooting event just shows there internal anger.
Politically I don't give a D... what party one is, innocent people have lost their lives while others are wounded and struggling to live, these people only were there to enjoy a movie. This could happen to anyone of us, if not today maybe tomorrow. Show some respect.
Romney calls for Unity? Ya think?? What a pompous ass Romney is. Oh yeah, without your "leadership" us dumb bells wouldn't have even thought about unity. Thanks guy................
Dead innocents are to be expected in the fight for freedumb! The important thing is that our 2nd amendment rights are intact!
You know Chris from Chicago, it’s not astounding, it’s what should be expected.
Okay, you know what? You and that non working wife of yours already gave your "condolences".
Marie, What’s Michelle’s job again? I forgot.
Woman In California
It's too bad he couldn't say as a 'former veteran" or as a "father of a son serving to protect the American people".
And Obama can?
My prayers go out to ALL VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES.
and why does CNN have Romney's picture leading this page and not President Obama???? CNN is giving off the appearence that Romney is the one showing leadership and he is the one who is President. President Obama should be leading this story CNN....after all, he is President of the U.S..
Scott said: "People kill people not guns"
Well, unless any of those guns end up killing an ATF agent during a Dem administration. Then it's the DOJ's fault for not stopping the gun sales. That's the conservative position, right?
Why doesn't Romney call out the NRA? We all know the answer, don't we?