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'
Who is this dude to say?????
Obama and Romney both handled themselves extremely well in this case, and it reassures me a bit. Right now we are at each other's throats, but in the face of a large enough challenge or threat we will still come together again. That may be America's problem in a nutshell; we don't have anything important enough to focus on.
are we so out of touch with reality in this country,that even a tragedy does not even affect your daily life.can we not even say a prayer for what happen to those families relatives,and friends.are we so brain washed that our feelings for others does not matter.are our hearts so harden.alot of you who just post your comments,need to be ashamed of your self.
@ Investment Advisor
Since you don't work who are you to advise me of anything? Now go and get a job and quit pretending to be educated.
Romney has shown time and time again that he doesn't have any of his own thoughts to share.
There is no god. There is unfortunately no separation of church and state either. ROMNEY AND OBAMA need to offer their condolences, speak or not speak on the issues, and move on. It's bad enough this kind of horrible thing happens, without our government officials talking about the imaginary sky fairy. Let the NRA say the prayers, appeal to a GOD, and make sure the next nut job can get a gun easily EASILY, intimidate the hell out of congress when they try to pass gun control, and then we'll do it all again in a few months on the next shooting. Guns God and Glory for more bloody times.
Woman In California so you think the only way to serve and protect our country is during a war? Surely Obama could have enlisted during peace time and help protect this country. Or was he too busy being a community organizer?
At least he was helping and not running. Can you say the same of Willard?
Following the Arizona shooting in which Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords was injured, the President called for civility and unity and he did so again prior to his state of the union address. However, some republicans didn't heed the call as they announced that they were boycitting the President's address anyway because according to them, the Presdient's jobs bill wasn't going to work. Regardless of the situation at hand, republicans always behave like republicans...heartless and un-American.
FFS, stop with the politics already! Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the two men with the most at stake were able to put politics aside, why haven't the commenters on here (and other forums) done the same? This is a national tragedy, not a political game and I'm sure the friends and family of the deceased would be ashamed and angry at all of these hyenas taking advantage of this tragedy.
Gotta love how on the obama article repbus are bashing him saying he's using it for political gain, and here all the democrats are bashing romney... Guess we can kind of agree on something
Actually Mitt we can do something tougher gun laws and stop cow towing to the NRA.
In his speech, romney claims he is speaking as a father, a grandfather, and an American. If he's American, how did he accidentally put money in bank accounts in other countries?
Romney isn't anyone yet, so he had no right to make a comment, suitable only for the POTUS. Such uppity scuzz.
Guns don't kill, people do. The NRA must be very pround of their accomplishments. Try telling that to the parents of the victims.
Sadly, by Monday it will be politics as usual and the NRA will continue to oppose ALL suggestions of reasonable gun control legislation.
I agree this is time to put politics aside, a time to mourn and time to come together as a nation. Anyone that puts politics into this should be ashamed of themselves.
"Who is this dude to say?????"
Well, you see, he's a major political candidate who has the national stage for no other reason than that he's a political candidate and, because he's a political candidate for POTUS, he needs to show for political reasons that he's presidential, so he's using the national spotlight as a political candidate to try to look presidential by telling everyone that this shouldn't be a political issue.
This, of course, is totally different than the currently elected president who, if the Teatrolls are to be believed, clearly has no business making any public statements about a massive tragedy and shouldn't be telling people that the tragedy shouldn't be politicized, and was obviously just being political by making speeches about unity and expressing sympathy, etc.
Romney our savior. Please save us and ban all weapons on America please begin the confiscations soon.
wow, it's amazing how identical the statements are from both the president and Mr. Romney. A few key words they both used: "senseless act", "brought to justice", the 'wife and I' are saddened (deeply saddened); and then they both talk about the american people coming together...
Is the same person or staff running for president? What a reminder this is on how presidential candidates follow a boilerplate protocol and rhetoric, right down to the letter.
And the rude, thoughtless comments continue from both sides. Perhaps the haters on both sides should simply sit down, be quit and allow the adults among us lead America into the future.
To Doug and the rest of you right-wing sub-humans, we've all seen how you lowlifes pile-on and name call against liberals when a tragedy strikes. So typical of you hypocrites. By the way, Romney is a phony, and you supporters of him are extremely ignorant and gullible.
But he never talks about the gun problem we have in this country. Weak as a puppet.
Many of the comments here disgust me. Haters on both sides. How insensitive can anyone be? Just look at many of the comments here and see.