Congressman was asked: 'Who is going to shoot Obama?'
February 25th, 2011
08:54 AM ET
11 years ago

Congressman was asked: 'Who is going to shoot Obama?'

UPDATE: Broun has released a statement on the town hall question. (below)

UPDATE 2: A Secret Service spokesman says of the matter, “We’ve taken appropriate investigative steps. At this point we consider the matter closed.”

(CNN) – Rep. Paul Broun, the Georgia Republican who is among President Obama's biggest critics in the House, faced a startling question from a constituent at a town hall Thursday evening: "Who is going to shoot Obama?"

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the question was the first the congressman faced at the gathering and the comment drew laughter from the crowd. Broun did not exactly denounce the comments, according to the paper.

"The thing is, I know there's a lot of frustration with this president," he said in response. "We're going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we'll elect somebody that's going to be a conservative, limited-government president … who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Threats made against the president can constitute a federal crime, punishable by five years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

Jessica Morris, a spokeswoman for Broun, told the newspaper that the question was "inappropriate" and said the congressman "moved on." Morris was not immediately available for further comment Friday morning.

Broun drew national attention last month when, live tweeting during President Obama's State of the Union Address, wrote among other criticisms, "Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism."

Broun also apologized in 2008 when he likened then-President elect Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.

"You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential," he said told an interviewer at the time.'

Broun later apologized "to anyone who has taken offense at that."

Broun released a statement on the town-hall question Frday:

“Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?” I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question. After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities. I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements—made in sincerity or jest—that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. J. Keating in Tucson

    The far right extremists in this country behave exactly like the Islamist extremists that they claim to hate. Beneath all their pseudo-patriotic rantings is a deep hatred of democracy. I encourage all Americans to read the excellent (and alarming) book entitled AMERICAN TALIBAN.

    February 25, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. JSim

    Democrats have no ability to detect sarcasm, which is why they make ridiculous comments about this story, why they blame the Arizona shooting on Palin and why they dislike Limbaugh and Coulter. Some comments may be in poor taste, but conservatives make such statements assuming that everyone knows they're not serious. Liberals do not understand sarcasm, because, when they say something insulting or threatening, they mean it.

    February 25, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Clwyd

    The questioner needs to be put behind bars as that is a direct threat. I think the same things about republicans and have thought that about bush, but never, never would have voiced it publiclly. Thoughts words and deeds are different things!

    February 25, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |

    This is what America is coming to. In Germany in the 30's the Nazi party put curbs on imigrants and demanded that the star of David or Swasitkas were placed on peoples "papers" sounds a lot like what Arizona wants to do. I doubt that America is going to last into the 21st century since its populace is becoming more and more ignorant.

    February 25, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Mike-WA

    Yet another example of where Evangelical Chrisitianity has taken America. True Christians need to take their religion back from this group that is now based almost solely on hate and ignorance. This so-called religious movement – that was hijacked by the Republican Party 30+ years ago in order to meet their corrupt objectives – have replaced the real Jesus with the rich and powerful. It is the most bizarre and distorted twist of religious beliefs and philosophy that one can imagine.

    February 25, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. The reality is...

    "You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential," he said told an interviewer at the time.'
    It's just a fact that clueless liberals do not want to face or hear: there IS the potential.

    February 25, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Corey

    This Congressman needs to be “Fired now, no question about it……………….”

    As a soldier that served in Iraq under this President it is a disgrace to hear that one of our congressmen would allow someone in the audience to say something so explosive, and not respond to him. The secret service should indict both of these idiots; bring them up on charges now, and ask questions later. We don’t need this kind of racial stupidity and our government, but unfournately it’s not like that. Conservatives are really out of control right now, President Obama is without question the best thing we have had in a while; so the one’s out here that hate this man, God will not allow you to disrupt, harm or conqueror him.

    February 25, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. ArmyCSM

    This is the type of hatefulness that force me to change parties and will ensure the reelection of President Obama. I could no longer look my kids in the face and explain the hatefulness, it was time for a change. Americans will not continue to buy and associate with hate. The world is changing all around us and we are reverting back to our old hateful ways. It's not going to work. It didn't work for lester maddox, george wallace, jim clark, bull conner, and it's not going to work for the tea party and the new-wave republicans. Remember we all laugh at the "community Organizer" jokes. In the end, who got and will get again, the last laugh.

    February 25, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Gloria

    This is unbelievable! I certainly hope the Secret Service knows who the individual is who made such a statement, and I also hope Rep. Broun is questioned and investigated. (I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but who knows, perhaps this was all a set-up, kindof like Joe the Plumber during the last presidential campaign.) Anyway, such discourse is dangerous, especially after what happened in Arizona. Broun needs to be called out on this.

    February 25, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Mr. Moderate

    Masters of Spin – as much as you won't believe it – while many bad things were said about Bush, the comments tended to be driven by the fringe lift. In fact Bush had an approval rating as high as 80% meaning the majority of the country who did not vote for him was willing to give him a chance. Something considered treasonous by the right.

    The difference is, is that many of these comments are driven by high level mainstream members of the Republican party. This article says a US Congressman compared Obama to Hitler (maybe I missed something but can you say the same thing about Bush?). High ranking republicans constantly incorrectly use the Socialist term (look it up!) because its a scary word and don't really repudiate the birthers and "he's a Muslim" crowd (again another scary word)

    February 25, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Who ever made this statement should be identity ASAP and put on a FBI watch list. This is a Threats made against the President of the United States of America it is Crime. This person should have arrested on the spot.

    February 25, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Ronald Hunt

    Broun is unfit for office.Too many office holders are not at a level to view events objectively. They are wrapped up in too much hate and emotionalism. Obama is a good man. Beat him at election, not with the gun. Broun , it appears to me that you have form but very little content. Denounce violence'

    February 25, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. clarke

    Shame on him, he might as well as ask the question himself. There is so much disrespect for our President and the first lady, and there is no reason for it. They are good people, it doesn't matter the party.

    February 25, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Rsprings

    This kind of idiotic only hurts the Republican party and agenda. This gy should resign or be censured by Congress...maybe even expelled.

    February 25, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. musings

    So the attack on Congresswoman Giffords had nothing to do with hate, did it? The Republicans are the sorest losers in this world. Then you add guns. And you make it all about uncompromising belief. Stir and simmer, skimming off the cream. Pretty soon some sharp-edged bones start to rise to the surface. That's some kind of soup we're in.

    February 25, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Tony in Maine

    The citizen should be interrogated by the Secret Service. Threatening the President, whoever he is, is against the law. That was an implied threat.

    Mr. Broun is a southern Republican – enough said.

    February 25, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Kevin

    I was afraid this was going to happen. The GOP do not have anybody to run against the President, so they will resort to their tried and true tactics, Fear and Hate. I didn't work in 2008 and it won't work in 2012. People remember the hate that was spewed throughout the 2010 midterms, but now its the Presendential election. The GOP ran on lie after lie during the midterms and it got them the house, but the White House is out of their reach. Also the Tea Party has taken over the GOP, too much hatred in their hearts to win a genreal election. People just watch the hate coming from the GOP in 2012, it will be worse than 2008.

    February 25, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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