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'
There are a lot of border line nut cases running around in our miidst.....hard to say what will trigger them....yep, sometimes it does appear that the aslyum is running things.
I thought Gov Romney's words were very comforting.
Well Mitt, I looked into my heart and guess what, I do not love you, your offshore bank accounts, or the millions of jobs Bain Capital shipped offshore.
Dear John: I am guessing you did not work for a company that was closed after Bain Capital shipped production and jobs offshore, all in the interest of profit and greed.
-Fair is Fair
Obama is a gift.
Maybe we can give him to Chavez on his next birthday.
This is a perfect example of how sick we are. The President and Governor Romney both call for reflection, and the only thing people can do is continue to engage in the same kind of sick, partisan attacks that have no place in this situation. Both campaigns have pulled political adds in CO today, and both cancelled or limited appearances out of respect for the dead. is it too much to ask if everyone else can do the same, or are we so hopelessly mired in hate that we can't do it for 24 hours?
He prettty much used the same words the President did in his speech. Willard is so phony. Even in this time of grief, you can see how fake he is. If his speech was genuine, you would have been able to tell it came from his heart. But as we all know, Willard doesn't have a heart. God bless the families of the fallen and may God bless the United States of America.
glad romneys handlers told him it was ok to comment. he is following the example set by our classy president who cares about the average american. prayers for all the family'
he must be thrilled at this opportunity to appear human.
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?
Yes, he wa busy being a community organizer, mastering his "victim" creation skills.
Yeah, so how does this pablum jive with the Paul Ryan budget plan that Romney endorses? How about cutting ALL the education and medical programs that help a) keep wackos to a minimum and b) keep the ones who go wacko in situations where they won't hurt anybody. Ryan and Romney want to create a great-underclass-worker-life of those with paltry public education, limited medical care, no psychiatric care and no community service care, and stick the cost of dealing with their wacko behaviors on the rest of us (because the billionaires pay even less tax).
Romney can't argue his way out of a paper bag when it gets to specifics, so he never does - just pablum and generalities.
This is why Romney is pulling ahead in the latest polls. He has leadership skills. Obama is probably going to whine, blame Bush, and tell us that if he had a son, he would look just like this gunman.
That's a description of obama. Only he's never been higher than a community disorganizer.
Romney should call for the NRA to stop opposing gun control legislation.
The idiots on this board are disgusting, heartless, incompetent, and pathetic. Time for some serious reflection of my democratic roots. I'm not one of these, am I??
"offer his own personal reflections"
Yeah, the thing is; A.) It's still a photo op so he wants to be on TV and B.) Nobody cares about your personal reflections
So shut up dummy.
Unity? Love one another? Really? REALLY???? Nothing about preventing nuts from obtaining guns? No suggestion that it's time to enact REAL gun control? What a waste of human flesh!!!
The world is mostly good and positive when you turn off the media sensationalism tube. Each person is tasked with asking themselves; out of the 1,440 minutes in a day, how many were spent suffering at the hands of random violence? really. Most people would have to say none. The consent innudation of negative news makes people "feel" that they are surrounded by harm but inreality most of your fear is imagined.
As for these moviegoers I hope they can heal with as much normalcy as possible and not live their life in constent fear as this type of event more than likely will never happen again. Kinda like lightning hitting the same place twice; very remote
The fools on both sides can't help themselves!! They are devoid of emotion and a heart or soul Shame on all of the posters on BOTH sides who try to use this tragedy for political gain. Try, for once, to be an adult.
Dear Terry – you are a perfect example of a child. Grow up. This is a time to comfort those who are suffering.
Bloomberg is an idiot. How does more gun control prevent this? Criminals and the criminally insane, like this moron James Holmes don't live within the gun control laws. Criminals will get guns however they can. CHL holders like myself pass FBI background checks in order to have the right to carry. What criminal have you met that subjected themselves to an FBI background check to get a gun? NONE!!
I don't agree with the President's policies or politics, but this was absolutely the right thing to say. This is a day that is not for politics. I am in complete agreement and thank him for his thoughtfulness and sentiments. To bad 90% of people posting here don't seem to be able to hear it.
After reading all the liberal postings concerning the need for more gun control, I have come to the conclusion that being a liberal equals being a "victim" creator. Liberals don't seem to understand that outlawing guns won't keep the criminals from having them (forehead slapping moment!!). But the criminals will know that their victims won't be armed and be able to fight back.
Romney is not the president of these United States. . . So who cares about what he thinks or says about these tragic killings? The elected President got this.
correction: I meant Taran, you aren't even relevant anymore.
"Devoid of politics" ? The author must be a comedian.