July 20th, 2012
01:19 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney calls for unity following Colorado shooting

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'


Filed under: Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Mickey

    @ABCorrection The thing is, I don't believe Romney is sincere. This just sounds like he's trying to score some political points by making a big speech about how we should put politics on hold. Whereas Obama really did put politics on hold: he canceled his appearances, he didn't go to them so he could make a big speech about it.

    July 20, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Luan

    Unity for what? For being pandering and being a chiken and without spine?

    July 20, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Jack

    Condolences to all loved ones of the victims involved. As for alexithymic Mitt, when is he going to stop copy-catting or trying to be a xerox copy of President Obama?

    July 20, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Nonpartisan American First

    Please stop the bickering for one day. Pray for all of those affected by this tradegy. Some of you have not lived long enough to understand that we all should unite when we lose so many of our fellow Americans to such a senseless act.
    Always remember we are Americans First and not politicans first.

    July 20, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Bloomberg is an idiot

    rep
    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?
    ==============================================================================================
    huh? you do realize the federal government OK'd the selling of weapons to known Mexican drug cartel members? There was no stopping involved. they knew they were doing something illegal.

    July 20, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Liberals Suck

    You liberals are the most disgusting swine on the planet. This is a tragedy and Romney spoke from the heart, and you use it as an excuse to: A) tear this man down B) make horrible statements about this man's religion C) make horrible and false statements about this man's father
    -----–
    Liberals are the worst people

    July 20, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Mgc tampa

    Interesting how CNN keeps putting Romney's comments on this all day first. Last I checked he is not the president and no one is looking to him for comments.

    July 20, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Neil Johnson

    GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE. PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. That is the problem. What is the real solution? Take drugs off the streets, people steel prescription drugs. Take gun shops away. People will go to the black market underground.
    So, what is the solution to the problem. Harder access to guns in gun shops or any store that sells them. Do more to take them off of the streets. We can't fight the black market. It will always be there. Educate people and pray to the Lord that maybe one day. We will have learned our lesson.

    July 20, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Oscar disabled vet

    First an foremost i pray for the victims and thier familys may god help them thru this very difficult time and the road ahead. I praise Obama for cancelling his rally an going back to washington to help in anyway he can. now for Mitt you comments were released to the media at 5:23 cst. Obama cancelled his rally at 5:am . @ Mitt why didnt you in your statement release that you also were suspending your rally? that question needs an answer.

    July 20, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. when your nightmares end WILLARD begins

    too bad it always seems to take tragic situations like this for both parties to call off the hounds. Just like in AZ last year.

    July 20, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Mittwit

    If you elect me president, I will make sure EVERYONE carries a gun at ALL times for their protection!!!!!!!!!!

    July 20, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. kakaraka

    Yeah right. Isn't Romney promotes guns? He did this in Colorado just 10 days ago advocating for guns. Whatever.

    July 20, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. LouAZ

    What are "they" praying for ? Their god has already acted hasn't he ? Grandstanding at it's most ridiculous !

    July 20, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. You People Aint Seeing Our Tax Returns

    “I supported the assault weapon ban.” – Mitt Romney
    "I don’t support any gun control legislation.” – Mitt Romney

    July 20, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Lady Fair – Very clever. You should get the sour grapes award for the day.

    July 20, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. scott

    A Mickey

    @ABCorrection The thing is, I don't believe Romney is sincere. This just sounds like he's trying to score some political points by making a big speech about how we should put politics on hold. Whereas Obama really did put politics on hold: he canceled his appearances, he didn't go to them so he could make a big speech about it.
    _____________________________
    Ya right that is why he is going on National Tv to tqlk about it, talk about using an event to score points, shame on Obama.

    July 20, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Conservatives may control the most wealth, but they are the least American.

    July 20, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Mgc

    I do not believe a word he says, I think he and his campaign are grateful some awful news has taken his taxes off the table for the moment. There is nothing in this man's past that shows compassion.

    July 20, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. dionysusBeer

    I'm not a Romney fan and won't be voting for him but some of the comments on here are just messed up. Romney may not be the greatest man alive but he's still human and feels for the victims. I know Romney never sounds sincere but to think that he's faking in this case is just insane. Romney may sound like a robot but he's still human so drop this bull about him not caring about the victims and using the tragedy for political gain. Can we please drop the damn political games long enough to come together to mourn this tragedy?

    July 20, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Rick James

    As someone who doesn't usually agree with Romney usually, I agree with him. Condolences to those affected.

    July 20, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Mitt the nitwit? \\

    I wonder if Obama will invite Romney to make comments at a public memorial? If he did, would Mitt accept?

    July 20, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Debbie

    At least he didn't say "life is short" .... Wow

    July 20, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Hotdog

    How about unity prior to the shooting. That's the problem in this country is that there is too much divisiveness. You have not seen any thing yet because you have more people than you realize that harbor demonic spirits wether they be politicians or other wise. All you have to do is look at our society. One group think that they are better than the next group or this group can not find common ground to solve simple problems then the next thing you know things get out of hand. This is how wars are started over some thing is really senseless. America is in a mess and I do not mean economically.

    July 20, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Conservatives say, 'Guns don't kill people, we kill people.'

    July 20, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. Fred

    Wing nuts are already calling for more guns everywhere as the solution to these mass murders.

    Just look at every country in the world where guns are easy and cheap to get to those countries where they aren't.

    Imagine the body count if a shoot out had broken out in this dark theater.

    July 20, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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