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. PalmReader

    "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.'

    Why the need to shoot President Obama, GOPers? The way things are going right now, he is the least of this country's problems. He's been rather inconspicuous, actually. Far as I can tell, President Obama hasn't done anything worth getting so upset about. Quite a middle of the road President. Moving on, isn't Georgia the State which has a Assemblyman trying to introduce anti-abortion legislation which would make having a miscarriage a State crime punishable by the death penalty? Perhaps Georgia would be better off ceding from the Union after all. Georgians don't seem to be accomplishing much of anything beneficial to America besides threats and fear tactics, and ought not be allowed to accept any federal funding whatsoever, be it disaster or domestic. Federal funding does, after all, come from MY taxes, and I absolutely resent having to support such ignorance as is represented by Georgian politicians and their equally ignorant supporters.

    February 25, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    Yesterday I read repeated statements by self-described conservatives that liberals were the ONLY ones making violent or inflammatory statements. There has been a pattern on the right of encouraging violance, condoning it, or carrying it out that goes WAY beyond simple statements. Broun has had a history of making these statements and only half-heartedly apologising afterwards. Would he be happy with our president being murdered? One has to believe he would.

    The level of discourse in this country has gotten way out of hand. No one has the corner on virtue at this stage, but it seems that the Far Right has pulled the country into this never-ending spiral of hate speech, " Second-Amendment remedies", and "don't retreat, reload" comments: I would like to ask them if they can talk about their opponents without referring to "libtards, communists, nazis, rinos", etc, and discuss their solutions and take responsibility for the effects, both good and bad, of their policies? If you can't do that, if you prefer to live in a world of absolutes because it makes your decision-making easier, than its obvious that you don't want to live in a democracy. We have serious problem that won't be solved by death threats, by the loose lips of members of Congress on both sides who can't behave responsibly and condemn hateful speech for what it is.

    February 25, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. James

    So someone commits treason, who will undoubtedly be paid a visit by the Secret Service within 24hrs, and this member of Congress replies to him like he was asked a normal question, citing "frustration" with the President?

    How about saying something along the lines of, "THAT'S NOT APPROPRIATE" and "OF COURSE NO ONE WANTS THE PRESIDENT DEAD" ???

    How the hell does he get to keep his job? Who elects these people????

    February 25, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Larry

    Another right winger who did absolutely nothing to call this "good" citizen out, and tell him what he said was absolutely wrong, and then have the police arrest him. By glossing over this inflammatory statement, did he express silent approval? What other whackos heard this too?

    February 25, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  5. N. Turner in Atlanta

    This man is unfit for office.

    February 25, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  6. Alex

    That man who made the threat needs to be visited by the Secret Service and FBI, fined, and thrown in jail. This is a direct threat on the Presiden't life. NO MERCY!!!

    February 25, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  7. Cal Veteran

    There are a many ignorant idiots in this country. Most opponents of "Obamacare" couldn't even tell you what it is. Most that call Obama a "socialist" do not truly understand what socialism is. Obama has done a great job running this country. he is getting us out of the financial mess the Republicans got us in. Focused our troops on the real war of iterest, Afghanistan. And has handled foreign affairs brilliantly. Why the anger?

    February 25, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Dan Halen

    Sounded like a threat to me. People have said less and been visited by the Secret Service.

    February 25, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  9. R Low

    Anyone holding political office who would not denounce this question, as well as the laughter following it, is just as guilty as the idiot who asked it. This Country is becoming more and more hateful, violent and ignorant. I wish we could split this Country in half so the rightwing zealots could stay on their side and those who don't want to spend their lives listening to hate, ignorance, intolerance and stupidity could stay on the other side.

    February 25, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  10. DLC

    And these are the kind of people you want running our country....Republicans complain when President Obama does what they want and spew hatred when they don't get their way.

    February 25, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. Jim

    The person who asked the question should be in federal custody on federal charges and should find himself a guest of one of our fine federal prisons. Broun should be, at the very least, censored by the House for not at least confronting the questioner and denouncing his question.

    February 25, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. Chas in Iowa

    These pukes don't incite violence they just go along.
    The proper responce would have been to answer that it is immoral and illegal to shoot anyone without cause. We are going to try to defeat him politically in the next election. But he may have lost some Tea Party votes had he said that.

    February 25, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  13. Gee Whiz

    Simply appalling that the person that asked the question wasnt arrested and the congressman glossed over the statement. Pray for our President...

    February 25, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  14. paul

    Broun should NOT be a representative for any state. If he doesn't denounce a definite threat to the POTUS then by his silence, he is condoning it. How many times can this guy slip up (oop, my bad). He is an embarassment to the USA. Unfortunately, he is part of the extremist in the Republican party. This country is having "buyers remorse" after the last election where too many extremists were elected in hopes to fix a bad economy. Broun should step down.

    February 25, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  15. Sgt. Joe.

    This is the type of politician that makes me very embarrassed for our country. Hopefully the world and most of the US can see through this ignorance. Love how the GOP rants about unions dumping big bucks toward the Dems, yet the fact that corporations can now own the GOP and completely finance them is perfectly fine in their myopic eyes. It's all ok as long as it plays to their self-serving agenda. The middle class is losing big right now; fear, greed and hypocrisy continue to rule the GOP.

    February 25, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. NameRobert

    People like this Congressman is what is wrong with our government. I hope they get a visit from the secret service.

    February 25, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. Kwesoe

    It was only a short while ago that citizens of this country were struggling to moderate the political climate with many calling for a tune-down of hate speech and civility in public debate. But it seems that republicans are giving lip service to the notion of civility. Not only are they talking about shooting the president, but others are attacking the first lady with slander. Me thinks the line is being drawn!

    February 25, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Bessy

    Just another John McCain who stood there and made no response. ( Remember the elections when McCain and Palin just stood there OR added to stupid comments/remarks like this ). The Republicans are so far out of hand it is just unbelievable. The only people to blame are the people who voted them into office. " Stupid is, as stupid does ".

    February 25, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. Robert Lang

    This rep belongs in jail. Can't recall any Democrat saying things like
    that about Bush but that was maybe because of his VP choice. Bush is still
    a war criminal.

    February 25, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. ABM

    I am outraged! Regardless of party affiliation he should have denounced such talk ESPECIALLY in that forum. It is unacceptable to allow or make light of comments or rhetoric like that. This is 2011 just because he is African American it seems the GOP has allowed such talk to pass without comdemnation. If it is was Bush or Clinton I would bet there would have been a more mature response instead of allowing it like this 'person' has done in that forum.

    February 25, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. Inmyopinion

    Wisconsin people and Unions are comparing Walker to Hitler in their protest, look at their big signs, and Rep. Capuano said "bloody" and Democrat people continuously compare Republicans to Hitler and talk and write about shooting Republicans, so how is this any different?

    February 25, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. Dave

    What the heck is wrong with this congressman? The person who posed this question made a direct threat to the president of the United States and he did nothing? He should be fired immediately from congress. This is treasonist behavior on his part for not calling the police immediately on this person and having him or her arrested.

    I cannot believe this is happening in America today. What the devil is wrong with us?

    February 25, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. Dan

    Just questioning Bush caused Republicans to fake seizures of outrage years ago because they claimed questioning a President during a time of war was treason. Now they're casually discussing shooting one who tried to remove pre-existing condition restrictions on their health insurance. If Republicans didnt have the media in their back pocket doing free PR work they'd be in prison.

    February 25, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. Lonnie

    So, let me get this straight. This happened in Georgia at a Republican Town hall metting. Surprise, surprise, I wish i could say that im shocked at this persons's comment and the ensuing laughter. Sadly, I am not. America's first African-American President has brought out the real deep seeded racism that this country still clings to. Pres. Obama has done a great job, despite so many who fight him every step of the way. Obama 2012!

    February 25, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  25. greg the progressive in jacksonville

    this is sick beyond belief. and the congressman is nothing more than a coward to stand up to the person, most likely in fear of being called a RINO, liberal, not Radical enough.. This is just getting completley out of control.

    February 25, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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