July 23rd, 2007
06:14 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney says 'lighten up' to sign critic

Romney recently posed with a supporter donning a controversial campaign sign. Another photograph shows Romney holding the sign.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has a message for those who are criticizing him for recently posing next to a supporter’s controversial campaign sign: “lighten up.”

The former Massachusetts governor took heat over the weekend from one town-hall audience member for recently posing with a supporter who donned a sign saying “"No to Obama, Osama and Chelsea's Moma."

The sign is an obvious grouping of the two leading Democratic presidential candidates - Sens. Hillary Clinton, the mother of Chelsea Clinton, and Barack Obama - with Al Qaeda leader and 9/11 organizer Osama Bin Laden.

"I don't look at all the signs when I'm having pictures taken,” Romney said during a town-hall meeting in Exeter, New Hampshire when pressed to apologize by one member of the audience. The comments were captured and made available to CNN by New Hampshire Public Radio.

“I have a lot of pictures taken with people, Romney also said. “I don't really spend all that much time looking at the signs and the T-shirts and the buttons. I don't have anything to say about a sign somebody else was holding."

"You know what? Lighten up slightly," he added. "There are a lot of jokes out there. I'm not responsible for all the signs I see.”

- CNN's Steve Brusk and Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. Z

    So is it open season on Mitt's name too now?

    July 23, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  2. Ash, Phoenix, AZ

    "lighten up?" If I recall correctly, a staff member of the McCain campaign (when it still existed) made some comments about Romney's religion. Romney demanded an apology and got it. I guess its ok if he does it.

    What I am afraid of is that the Mormon church will elect this man.

    July 23, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. Karen

    When you don't have a center of your own, when you have no fixed convictions or beliefs, when you can do what you want because you don't really exist, you can dismiss an insult in your midst because nothing means anything to you.

    July 23, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. killerthought


    July 24, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  5. John Reed

    Hey CNN: There is no comma in the sign. It does not say No to Obama, Osama and Chelsea's Moma.
    The sign is referring to Barack Obama as Osama Obama.
    This may be too non-PC for CNN to report correctly.

    July 24, 2007 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  6. Lara, Quincy, Florida

    Macaca George told everyone to lighten up too. Remember him? Yeh, I thought you would remember. HE WAS NOT RE-ELECTED! You insensitive freak. And by the way, how much do you spend on your hair?

    July 24, 2007 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  7. Sir Kay, Tpa, FL

    Stupid act with stupid excuse!. Disparaging someones name with that of someone who murdered 3000 americans and going after childred of candidates is not a laughing matter so how can I lighten up? I was thinking maybe I should doctored the same picture and insert David Duke in place of the woman with the stupid sign that he's so smiley standing next to and than tell Mormon Romney to "Lighten up"!

    July 24, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Timothy White, Montreal

    I'm pretty sure if I turned up at a Romney rally with a big "Mittler hate the Jews" sign, you defenders would be singing another tune! Why is every single person on the Right a hypocrite?

    July 24, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. robnesvacil

    Ronald L. Gibson incorrectly wrote: Correction, Osama is Obama’s middle name. Nothing to do with Bin Laden
    Posted By Ronald L. Gibson : July 23, 2007 2:39 pm

    Um, no.

    His name, as many conservative pundits are happy to tell us, is Barack Hussein Obama.

    "Osama" appears nowhere in his name except in the imaginations of conservatives and other critics.

    That Gov. Romney would happily hold up a sign like this (CNN does not show the other photo, in which the Gov. is indeed holding the sign up higher) is indication that he might also agree with those who would compare Pres. Bush to Hitler or Pol Pot.

    Or maybe it's only ok to commit such ad hominem attacks if you're a Republican...

    July 24, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Doug Rowe, Monaca, Pennsylvania

    Great. Here is another Republican presidential candidate whose excuse for neglegence is that he doesn't read everything. First, Bush didn't read the August 6 DPB, apparently because he was busy clearing brush and vactioning, now Romney doesn't read the signs of the supporters he poses with. How convenient. And dangerous. Is this someone we want in office?

    July 24, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Diana, Coos Bay, OR

    Romney won't get to "not notice" signs and other things if he were to be pres. If he doesn't pay attention to this sort of thing now, no thanks. He's another Bush, just clumsy in a different sort of way. Bush can't make is mouth work and Romney can't make his eyes work. Next, we'll have a republican in the making who doesn't know how to use his/her ears either. Hum, what does this make? Monkey see, monkey speak, monkey hear?.......
    Yeah, "lighten up" is a good way to blow it off but do I believe him? No. Do I hypothasize that perhaps a member of his staff saw the sign and pointed him in that direction. You bet. I quit believing in "chances like that happening" a long long time ago. Romney didn't get where he got by not noticing things.
    The man from GQ reminds me too much of Bill Clinton. Both of whom make me want to barf.

    Coos Bay, OR

    July 24, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. E.W., York PA

    It figures that Republicans would carry signs like that. Ever since the "Willie Horton" thing, they've been looking to demonize any black person who dares to offer political challenge, and Obama has become fair game.

    At least we now know who the racist candidates are. . .

    July 30, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  13. M. Van More

    Quick – someone make a sign that says, "Smile if you're an idiot" and hand it to Romney! If he can't read signs during the campaign, what's he going to bother reading if he's president?

    August 7, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. Dan Covington, KY

    When did Osama bin Laden's name become a punchline? maybe mitts been watching too much Southpark; i for one don't think the man responsible for 9/11 should be invoked in a humorous manner. Romney telling people to 'lighten up' is an insult to america's intellegence and a slap in the face to everyone who died in 9/11. he should be ashamed and, if he really didn't know about the contents of the sign, angry; not flippant and obtuse.

    August 22, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Gayla, Apple Valley, CA

    I would never vote by what sign whomever was photographed by. I am not a Romney fan, but is anybody going to vote based on an offensive sign in one photo months before an election. Does the sign make the man? It sure points out that some people are dumb enough to not have someone smart proofread their sign.

    September 5, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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