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. Bill Sortino, Santa Fe, NM

    And the "Beat Goes On"! Here is Romney holding the sign and he LIES OUTRIGHT that he doesn't read these signs that "someone else holds up" hold up!

    Good thing it only said such insensitive and unconscionable words about Barack Obama and not about Bush! God forbid he be labeled a traitor or worse! This guy Romney would actually be able to fit right into ole Georges’ shoes and never miss a beat! Good buy Constitution!

    July 23, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. John Murdock, Arlington, VA

    CNN can't even quote correctly from a picture. Journalism: moving faster than the speed of intelligent thought.

    July 23, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Vanderloogen, Glenshaw, PA

    Liberals need to SHUT UP!

    July 23, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Sze Louis-Jean

    That is a total disrespect to Mr. Barack Obama.
    To be compare by any means with that animal, is unacceptable, and she needs to apoligize to Mr.Barack Obama.

    Suze Louis-Jean,

    July 23, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Laura Kuffrey, Cumming, GA

    Maybe Mr. Romney does not have time to read all the signs people bring to the rallys but how does he know they are not saying something "LIKE THAT ABOUT HIM!!!'. I had liked some his views a weeks ago when I heard an interview he did somewhere but now I am running back to Mr. Obama AGAIN!!!!

    July 23, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. F Douglas, Brooklyn, NY

    This is why Clinton is beating Romney in the polls

    July 23, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Brian, Durham, NC

    I don’t care what the sign says, but it does hold a hidden message. Because the American electorate (as a whole) is uneducated about politics, a man with a name Barack Hussein Obama on a ballot will lose votes because of the similarity to both the names Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Two people whom Americans hate.

    July 23, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. greg, oceanside CA

    Get your facts straight. Neither of those claims are true.

    July 23, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Nathan, Sunnyvale, CA

    Finally! A man who does not follow the "apology" epidemic! Kudos to Romney – that’s how a real man should behave!

    July 23, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Charles, Kansas City MO

    I'm a Mormon and I enjoy my diet coke and Hersheys... If this is what you were taught I would question anything else you were taught or anything you "think" you might know about Mormons...

    "So let me get this right…
    Romney says Yes to posing with signs he can’t be asked to read…but he says No way Jose!‘ to chocolate and diet coke?!?

    Isn’t it a bit rich for a devout Mormon to tell someone to lighten up?

    No Coca Cola or Hershey chocolate? Surely this man is no patriot.

    Please do not put Romney (his name is Mitt – isn’t that something you Yanks use to catch balls?) in charge of anything! (maybe…maybe ball-catching.)

    Your friend in Britain,

    Posted By Dominique : July 23, 2007 3:53 pm"

    July 23, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. F Douglas, Brooklyn, NY

    We don't need another mentally challenged president!

    July 23, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Mary T. Blythewood, SC

    Mitt should rethink his comment about his thoughts on not caring what's on the signs before he poses. He should be careful about not taking responsibility....after all we are tired of the current climate of noone being responsible in D.C.! He just lost my vote. The last thing I want to hear is "I'm not responsible for....you fill in the blank. Same old same old....

    July 23, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Sean, Portland, OR


    If you are going to roast someone for their spelling, at least you could check your own!!

    Here's what YOU said:
    “Me” in Dallas proves a previously stated observation: some of these conservative supporters are semi-literate at best.

    Qutoing “Me”: “who cares what the sign say….and maybe is correct…at least for sure it is very amusing”

    Why is it that 90% of the folks that are GOP supporters are morons who can’t spell?

    Posted By Rob

    I don't profess to be the best speller, so I don't criticize other's spelling. But since you did...you will be criticized!!

    If 90% of the GOP supporters can't spell, then neither can 90% of the Dems!!

    July 23, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Doro, Portland, Oregon

    The message in the sign reveals narrow and shallow thinking.

    Mr. Mitt Romney's comment reveals that he is either unobservant or lying; and his holding and posing with it shows poor form – really poor judgment.

    WE THE PEOPLE of the United States and the world deserve better in a Presidential candidate, and ultimately President of the United States.

    July 23, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Lisa, Orlando FL

    ONE more time – I really wish people who post would read at least some of the previous comments before posting.
    1. Osama is not Obama's middle name. Which right wingnut told you that one?
    2. The woman did not misspell Moma – she is spelling it that way to make a supposedly clever alliteration – though she should have used Mama.

    And now for a new point:
    3. Those of you trying to compare this with leftists who have often had signs equating Bush to Hitler et al, let's get this straight! There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between some random people holding signs making these onerous comparisons and an official candidate running for President of the United States doing it. Yes, there is free speech. But to hold the sign and pose with the sign assumes you AGREE or ENDORSE the sentiments expressed on the sign! Jeesh! How hard is that to understand?
    4. And for those who like to point to the Move On incident in '04 where a citizen (NOT anyone affiliated in any way with the party or a candidate) posted a submission for a 30 second ad contest which equated Bush to Hitler, which was PULLED by Move On within about 24 hours, I would suggest you look in the mirror. Or do you not remember that for at least a few hours, on the OFFICIAL GOP website, on the FRONT Page, was a video which juxtaposed footage of speeches by Democrats with film footage of speeches by Nazis. Uh...random poster to an un-affiliated website vs. official posting on official party website. Hmmm... slight difference, here? Yeah, you choose not to remember that. Facts and context mean nothing to you.
    A man of integrity, and even a modicum of political smarts, would have chuckled maybe (if he had such an infantile sense of humor) and then politely told the woman that he couldn't really be seen with that.
    It would not have taken a rocket scientist.

    July 23, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    OK, one more thing: I'd just like to say that although I'm voting Democrat, I'd be lethally unhappy with any Dem candidate who pulled out a sign like that. What the sign implies is despite for Obama because of his race, and an unwillingness to allow the black man to participate in democracy, plus equating opposition candidates with terrorism. I don't expect to see Obama posing next to a sign saying BUSH BOMBED OTC either. Bet a nickel that sign was a trap and he walked right in . .

    July 23, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Sam L., Cedar Falls, IA

    I am a Democrat but I supported Mitt Romney until this abominable act. It disgusts me that politicians have to stoop to a level of three year-olds by calling each other names to win an election. It amazes me that Romney can lie like he did to the American people, his consituents, about not spending "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."

    July 23, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |

    Right Romney. And lighten up about your flip-flopping ways to secure elective office that are obvious insults to your religion. And speaking of religion, from one mormon to another - you have a long way to go baby to convince others that mormon's are segregationists, racist and view women as stay-at-home baby production machines to secure all the men the ultimate highest kingdom. Convince us that mormon's don't believe that and you'll never have a mormon voting for you. Lighten up and stay home.

    July 23, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Jon, Norman OK

    I'm certainly no fan of Mitt Romney,
    but he is right. Some of you people need to get a life. Aren't there more substantive concerns than this?

    July 23, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Jason, Chautauqua, NY

    I must not be reading into the sign as much as everyone else; I recall the GOP not liking Bin Laden along with its Democratic competitors last time I checked. I think its cute to make it rhyme. What's the problem?

    July 23, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. BK, Iowa City, IA

    Oh boy. Another President that doesn't take responsibility. "I'm not responsible for standing next to racist signs." Ah...yes, you need to be more careful Mitt and not promote ignorance and hatred. This is just what we need. 8 more years of the same old same old.

    July 23, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Victor, Gaithersburg, MD

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

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

    Mr. Gibson,

    Just for the record, Barack Obama's middle name is 'Hussein'.

    July 23, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Catherine Heberling

    I think it is a great sign. CNN just has one thing in mind to - help Chelsea's Moma get to the White House.

    It's just sour grapes that the sign was not detrimental to President Bush. Cnn just can't stand the truth about Hill.
    Does America want a real innovator, one who can solve problems and do the country proud as Mitt Romney would do or do they want a President who just screeches and is unaware of her and the countries problems? If she didn’t know Bill was dilly dallying with Monica –how can she believe she has the ability and know how to run the Country. The wife should always be the first to know.

    July 23, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. eric, seattle, wa

    so does this mean romney would stand next to a sign that reads "long live the taliban!"? of course not. he reads every sign he stands by and implicitly accepts the message.

    July 23, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. Mike, Staatsburg, NY

    Don't worry, Mitt will change his position by tomorrow.

    July 23, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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