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'
mitt don,t want to say anything to upset the nra–and there second amendments rights -what about peoples rights to go out and have a good time–if the day comes when the population has to arm itself to the teeth to feel safe -then there should be a name change afganistan two,
You know what, I'll give this one to Mitt for showing decency (and it might be the last...)
Hey Peace, you’re right, today we are mourning, tomorrow back to unfinished business. Unemployment, budget deficit , failed stimulus……
We only get one president at time Romney, if your words are sincere you can start by stopping the lies and getting down to your plans for the country when the time is right again. Stop the Presidential heckling tour your on and let us know where you stand on the issues and how you would do a better job instead of playing Monday morning quarterback
Yes, let's unite and vote Obama OUT !
I'm not going to say anything but if I were I'd say his statements just sound hollow.
Mitt should keep BLASTING Obama
If you are in the area, and want to help...donate blood.
Mitt should keep calling out Obama
Who cares what Romney is calling for. We the people call on Romney to pay his retroactive fair share based on ethical and moral grounds and not based on what he is legally required to pay. There are lots of grey areas in law but when it comes to ethics and morals, nothing is grey, it is either right or wrong, fair or unfair. We can then take the hundreds of millions of dollars that Romney should have paid over the last 10 years to help the victims of this tragedy.
It is truly sad that the liberal democrates on here take their hatred and continue to spew it even in view of the tragedy and Romney's comments. Romney's comments are similar to Obama's, yet the hatred you spew is sad. At least Romney has taken the opportunity to move away from politics for the day out of respect. The Romney bashers on here clearly don't have any respect.
This shows Mitt Romney is a sensible and caring individual. Mitt is a decent man who loves his wife and kids, who donates millions to charities. He cares for other people. It is a true story that he once closed down his company Bain Capital for 3 days so that he and his hundreds of workers could go to NY to help find a missing daughter of one of the workers. How many rich men would have done that?
The NRA owns his political party and probably owns him. Best he be quite!
That what Americans must do...be united when the terrible things happens...as what the President said..."....But this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family"...
One thing about Romney campaign....they are following what the President's campaign..doing...even some of the script that Romney said..that is Funny..but I respect his speech.. Peaceful mind..
Mr. Mayor, you should have run for the presidency! I, for one, would support your candidacy! Times and again you stood up against the craziness of the GOP and the Tea party. We can forget about Romney on gun laws and raising taxes and Obama on virgorously opposing the NRA!
@jostasayin- please refer to the comments of freelance. Thank you.
The president WAS NOT OLD ENOUGH to fight in the Viet Nam war. Now if he had been old enough, you might be slightly credible. However, Willard was OLD ENOUGH and FLED and his good for nothing sons ARE OLD ENOUGH but that's right – they are busy breeding while others are bleeding. I have to give it to you Willard supporters you sure are willing to sacrifice (in blood) so your king can continue to breed. The rest of us aren't that willing.
So, what about the Obama haters comments on this blog.. I guess they get a pass.. such a hypocrite.
Romneys words dont just echo Obamas... jesus its like he is a political mirror. Everything Obama does, hes 1 step behind.
Romney should be banned from trying to glom onto Obama's Oklahoma City moment.
NRA is a parasite selling death and fear. And RoMoney is afraid more than anyone.
how can romney when many gop of today's times are hate mongers, and intolerant
trolling is just a symptom...politics is the disease. all you true-believers on both the right and left better get cured and stop spewing your contagious venom on the rest of us. take care of your own lives and quit worrying about who's making more money than you or who's getting married.
I understand that the GOP is considering to cancel their planned campaign at an NRA meeting in Littleton that was scheduled for the beginning of August, much to the dismay of his fellow Conservatives who proudly drive their pickups with a "I support my 2nd Amendment right to bear arms" bumper sticker on the back.
He seems to be so out of touch, I stand before you not as a man running for president etc etc etc........ Blah blah blah! I wonder who wrote h