Congressman was asked: 'Who is going to shoot Obama?'
February 25th, 2011
08:54 AM ET
9 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. ja

    some are planting seeds of hatred, and they are begining to sprout, the bottom line is there is a mindset that only an Angola-Saxon can hold the office of President of the United States, Obama's predecessor, squandered a budget surplus, engaged America in to wars, one on falsehoods, without deep investigations, I hope this person was arrested, we talk about Saddam and other Arab leaders, the hypocrisy

    February 25, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  2. munchmom

    How can one say something like this? While I do not like Obama and how he is running our country, I cannot think of anything that could be more of a tragedy than this. Their family would be devastated (remember the Kennedys?) and our country would be thrown into total chaos! Please, people, this is not something to joke about, for a family or a country!!

    February 25, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. Alex

    His insinuation that democratic elections in Germany facilitated Hitler's rise is not so much an insult to Obama as it is to democracy. Democracy means that the man elected may not be the best for the country, but that is the burden the voters must carry.

    February 25, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. John Ellis

    If I were a Republican and I was discussing Mr. Brown and so many of his vile counterparts I'd be discussing second amendment solutions for him. As I am a progressive who does believe in the actual Constitution instead of one I made up, I will just denounce his ugliness and hope that he and his counterparts will either lose badly or be in such a minority that a responsible political party will rise to replace the disgusting Republican party as it now exists. Hopefully a progressive party to the left of the Democrats. Since Mr. Brown does not believe in socialism, I presume he rejects his health care, his social security and the other manifestations of a country which perceives common purpose and has created institutions and laws to serve those purposes. His 'purity' is laughable, illusionary and dangerous.

    February 25, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Obama is, always will be my President

    "You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What
    Broun later apologized "to anyone who has taken offense at that." Broun did you know that Hitler also Killed million Jews, to you that does matter they are less than people to you.

    February 25, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. Indie Woman in Denver

    This congressman & his constituents are excellent examples of the problem in this country: incivility and violent rhetoric.

    February 25, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. Dave

    This is where the Republican party is now - completely crazy. I don't know why anyone still considers them a viable party. I couldn't vote for them, knowing I was supporting such backward, superstitious, hate-filled people who consider the assassination of a president a political option, or something to joke about.

    And Republicans are supposed to be the big "Christian" party. I think religion is failing as badly as politics, if this is what they come up with. How can you vote for a party knowing you're supporting such unhinged thinking?

    February 25, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. Linda Weiner

    Someone needs to call the Congressman on this! That kind of talk was supposed to simmer down after Giffords shooting. He should have said something right then....

    February 25, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. ERye

    Because Rep. Broun didn't denounce this questioner, I will be donating a lot of money to whoever runs against him for reelection.

    February 25, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. dboy

    Is this really what its come to?

    February 25, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. Maryann

    There was laughter when the question was asked? I'm amazed and embarrassed that some of my fellow Americans could be so ignorant and inflammatory. Also offended that this 'representative' did not denounce the question, and surprised that the person asking it was not arrested.

    February 25, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. Michael Wong

    I love the way these scumbags apologize NOT for saying anything wrong, but to anyone who might have "taken offense". In other words, they aren't really apologizing at all; they're blaming others for being sensitive.

    February 25, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. America Above Party

    This guy should be jailed for being an accompliance to legitimate threat to our president. Where were all those so-called outrages when Bush was exponentially increasing the deficiet, growing the fed govt. This is the most honest and hardest working President we ever had.

    February 25, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. TM

    Congressman, you are an ignorant thug, unworthy to hold office, if you let that kind of comment pass without denouncing it. It shows that the ONLY person who "doesn't believe" in the Constitution, or Democracy is YOU.

    February 25, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. Mike Chino Hills

    It is very clear that the Conservative Right has become more racist & radical over the past 2.5 yrs. I have been a registered Republican since Reagan, and I have never been so ashamed of what the GOP has become. This Congressman should have had the person who asked that question tossed in Jail, or at the least "removed" from his meeting. What a shame America!

    February 25, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. REALLY??? WTH is wrong with people

    This is a disgrace...after what happened in Arizona, you would think Brown would have the decency to stop the town hall meeting, ask this lunatic to leave, and ask that everyone else in attendance be civil and refrain from this type of hate (or worse) speech. It just goes to show, you don't have to be intelligent to be elected to the United States Congress, because the electorate is not all that bright either.

    February 25, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  17. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    We should round up a republicans with this thoughts and put them in Gitmo and torture them with their own beliefs.

    February 25, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  18. Rich

    The Republican party sees violence and the threat of violence as legitimate political tactics.


    February 25, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  19. Dale

    The Democratic health care bill is not perfect. But it is something. Republicans have done exactly nothing about the vast problems with our health care system. True story: My mother worked as a nurse, taking care of patients and paying into her health insurance for 20 years. Then she got breast cancer and her insurance company promptly dropped her. They basically told her to go home and die. Their strategy was to delay the legal fight until she died. Friends and family helped with her bills while she fought them in court, at the same time she was going through chemo, etc. She won both fights, thankfully. She told me that the insurance company caused her more stress than the prospect of dying. I sincerely thank Obama and the Democrats for making the insurance company's action of dropping her illegal. And I am appalled at the Republican party for fighting this law in the past and for wanting to repeal it now. The Republican party is as cold, unethical and inhuman as the insurance companies that they work for.

    February 25, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  20. Ted van Tol

    "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 POTENTIIAL!," he said told an interviewer at the time.'" Broun in 2008.

    Fear, hate and so stupid! He will never change!
    By the word Socialism stops his brains working.
    Obama is a Social Democrat! Nothing wrong with that.
    Social means caring for other people. Social means
    standing behind people. In the USA but also today
    behind the Arabic people who want freedom and democracy..
    This President understands how to act. Not supporting the
    dictators like the USA did in the past. Sadam Hussein, Talliban etc. but seeking the world
    to be united against dictators. By doing that Barack Obama will go
    into history as a President who made this world more democratic
    and more safe. I respect this man, all the way!

    Ted van Tol
    The Netherlands

    February 25, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. jimm

    The Secret Service should be all over the person who made the comment...and shame on Broun for not denouncing it. This just shows how much animosity there is towards Obama...and its not just on this policies since much of it started before the policies were even announced.

    February 25, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  22. John

    Of course he didn't denounce the question. He's the kind of Republican who wants to encourage violence, but preserve plausible deniability about doing so.

    February 25, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  23. Ysidero

    I hope the Congressman and the person asking "who is going to shoot Obama" get visits from the Secret Service, and are made to understand that such veiled threats are not tolerated. Broun should have immediately responded forcefully that such a comment is wrong and intolerable. Shame on him, and shame on those in the audience who laughed.

    February 25, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  24. lester

    The fact that this questions was not immediately denounced by the congressman is very sad. The fact that people laughed at the questions is depressing. The republicans lack of condemnation to these threats is what is fueling more of them. President Obama was duly elected president by a substantial margin and I just wonder how these people will react if he is re-elected.

    February 25, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  25. CNN The Masters of Spin

    It is so very Hypocritical for the Liberal, Left Media to unrelentlessly promote an attitude of; it's a crime to be negative toward or disagree w/Obambi, however when Bush was president, all the slanderous words, accusations, threats, in the form of "news" or commentary & even movies......were not just condoned by the Left media, but was initiated by & encouraged! This "Spin" will not work........ Americans are "fed-up" with Obambi & all the spin from the media can't put this Humpty Dumpty together again!

    February 25, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
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