July 23rd, 2007
06:14 PM ET
8 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. Anonymous

    Poetic, funny, I love it!

    July 23, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. Ronald L. Gibson

    Correction, Osama is Obama's middle name. Nothing to do with Bin Laden

    July 23, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. KAB

    Figures, what else would you expect from Romney.

    July 23, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Bill S., Commack, New York

    I'm guessing that the spelling prowess of this particular Romney supporter is probably typical of the intelligence level of the people backing him.

    July 23, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. C. K. Justus WI

    Mr. Romney must think all of the citizens of this country are mushrooms. If he really thinks that we believe that he does not check out the clothing and signs he has his picture taken with.

    July 23, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. BD, Chicago, IL

    Because what you want in a leader is a man with few observational skills or detail orientation.

    On the plus side, this makes it a lot easier for somebody to end up next to him wearing an "I'm With Stupid" shirt.

    July 23, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Cinnamon, San Antonio, Texas

    I find it amusing that someone running for President can take this incident so light-heartedly.
    He may not be responsible for the signs, but he is responsible for his stance and being apart of that photo. If he can not see a simple sign that would bring offense, how can we trust that he will not slip up in simple day to day duties in his Presidency?
    He does not have my vote and I do hold him responsible, whether it is his poster or not–that's his body.

    July 23, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Cassie, Appleton, WI

    Good for Romney. While the sign was in somewhat poor taste, the idea that a candidate is responsible for the behavior of every supporter, even one that he stands next to, is absurd. And quite frankly, it's just not that bad a sign. Don't we have bigger concerns to face?

    July 23, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Wayne H. Wagie Miami, Florida

    Rommey is posing behind that sign, and if he says he dosen't know he was, he's not telling the truth. If he can't tell the truth about something as simple as that, what eles would he lie about. We alread have a President who has trouble with the truth, we don't need another.

    July 23, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. practicalreasoning

    The people whining about this are the same people that have been comparing Bush to Hitler for years. Get over it – it's just a sign.

    July 23, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. it's me, dallas, tx

    who cares what the sign say....and maybe is correct...at least for sure it is very amusing

    July 23, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. me and you, dallad, tx

    so what...maybe it is true...at the least it is entertaining....if you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen

    July 23, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Lisa, Orlando FL

    SO funny, that sign!

    Um...if Obama actually HELD (which in another photo Romney is doing) a sign that said "No to Bush, Hitler, and Mittler", I don't think people would just say to those who have a problem with it to "lighten up".

    I expect a bit more out of presidential candidates then talk radio "jokes" aimed at the lowest common denominator. If you can't see why this is beyond a joke, that it has crossed a line, then you are simply part of the problem.

    July 23, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Patrick, Las Vegas NV

    What a tool. A few more major mistakes like this and he'll be out of the running.

    July 23, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Chris

    People who make signs like that are shameful. Obama is not Osama Bin Laden, same way Bush is not Adolf Hitler (as some on the other side of the spectrum have represented him). We can't have a civilized democracy if we let this kind of sleaze stand. This is not a partisan issue.

    July 23, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Hmmm, blatantly hateful signs aimed at Republicans or Bush, OK keep it up! A humourous sign aimed at the Saints of the Left, outrage and horror ensues.

    Quite frankly Romney screwed up by not standing by his supporter and issuing this lame comment. There is nothing wrong with the sign, and his refusal to stand by the supporter shows he should not be president. By the same not, I agree with that sign...

    July 23, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. M Randois, Los Angeles, CA

    So Romney equates two of our country's most prominent senators to a terrorist leader... Is it safe to assume that Romney would show the same contempt for congress were he in the White House? Isn't this the same level of contempt Bush has shown for the past 7 years? Is Romney the status quo candidate?

    July 23, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Susan, Chicago IL

    I'm sorry, can someone remind me if the primary elections are coming up?

    This is so irresponsible and really sad for a politician to say.

    July 23, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. GG, Los Angeles, CA

    So Romney doesn't spend much time looking at the signs he stands in front of? Let's all agree that he had better start, otherwise we're going to end up with another "Mission Accomplished" sign - and situation.

    July 23, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Corley, Charlotte NC

    Ummm.....Obama's middle name is not Osama. It's Hussein.

    July 23, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Jared, Tucson, AZ

    President's are supposed to have discretion. If you don't have the political acumen to know that posing with that sign is going to become an issue for some people, you don't have the political acumen to President. Obama and Clinton have shown themselves to be committed to working towards a better America. You've just shown yourself to be wed to highly partisan and unAmerican behavior. May as well give your money to Fred Thompson and hope to be a cabinet official at this point, Mitt.

    July 23, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. New Castle, Pa.


    July 23, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Bryan, Boston MA

    Ha Ha Ha! The rest of the medical staff and I found this hilarious.


    We couldn't agree more! GO MITT ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT OF THE USA!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. R. Baxter, Newport, Oregon

    Just what we need, another goof-ball in the White House with a "not my job or responsibility" attitude. I wonder what his reaction would be if another candidate posed next to a sign that said something like "Just say No to radical religious nuts, polygamists, and Mormons".

    July 23, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Veronica L. Feinstein, Stamford, CT

    To: Posted By Ronald L. Gibson : July 23, 2007 2:39 pm

    Barak Obama's middle name is Hussein, not Osama. However, the right-wing freaks will – as usual – make a big stink about nothing.

    Is it a prerequisite for most GOP politicians to evade responsibility? Is it a prerequisite for most GOP politicians to come up with the weakest and lamest excuses possible in order to evade responsibility? Perhaps the idiot Lurch Romney should just quit while he's ahead. The "open mouth, insert foot" concept is obviously lost on Lurch. He's actually making Chimpy look kinda smart.

    July 23, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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