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. REAL Patriots do MORE than salute the flag, they EDUCATE themselves

    Good ol right wing rhetoric at work again...keep it up GOP. Secret Service should be invited to this guy's town halls and bring a mobile booking station with them.

    February 25, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. FactCheck

    What is so surprising about what he said? Did you expect anything else from these corporate sponsored lobby backed Republicans?

    February 25, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. Bill in VA

    Technically it was not a threat but a question. Technically. And by ignoring it perhaps he thought this was a way of not giving any recognition or credence to it. Perhaps.

    February 25, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Chicago Tim

    Many Republicans and Tea Partiers would be very happy to see President Obama at the end of a rope, dangling from a tree limb.

    February 25, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Faith in something more than myself

    Regardless of Bush or Obama. We need to have more respect for the president position. Yes, the American people should have a voice and the freedom to voice their concerns. However, I was always taught that class and good taste should be a priority in all that I do. There are things that I did not agree with regarding Bush and some that I do not agree with regarding Obama.

    Broun is a leader and should govern himself accordingly. He has a history of saying uncomfortable comments, then backtracking on them. He was a rich kid, and now a rich man. I have not seen any evidence of what he has done to help move our country forward. He has not had to work very hard, compared to the common man. It continues to amaze me of how people of privilege feel that they can say and do as they like. Broun, do some work, get your hands dirty, and actually do something for the American people beyond offering untamed statements.

    February 25, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    GOP politicians are sounding too much like Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter, and Beck. They are elected officials and not conservative talk show entertainers.

    February 25, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. rs

    Republicans like Broun have crossed the line. If this were said about Bush, the Congressman in question would have wound up at Gitmo. The Republican Party is now more dangerous to America than the Taliban- they are virtually the same thing.

    February 25, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. Matt

    I remenber coming home from morning kindergarden and watching my mom's reaction to JFK being shot. I remember the reaction I saw on the faces of everyone I knew in my VERY red state. Any congressman from any party that does not completely denounce any sick question like that......well,......i dunno.

    February 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. Realistic

    The republican party has gone off the deep end. When a party becomes of mean spirited and hateful of everyone that may not agree with them, they become violent. Soon the goons of the republican party will be knocking on peoples door that disagree with them and move them to GITMO. There they will be re-educated and subjected to intense propaganda messages. If that does not change their mind, water boarding will be part of the re-education process. However, if this still does not change their mind they will go on hunting trip with Cheney.

    Ok not really, for all the non sense that comes out of the republican party, soon they(republican party) will be sent back to the wilderness . Than, only than will America be back on track.

    February 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    An election next year? Does this guy know something different than the rest of the country? As far as visits from the Secret Service, I think an entire FBI probe into both the speaker and the Congressman would be more in order. Just see how they like having their assets frozen while undergoing investigation. Also, it would be real amusing to discover both have been placed on the "no-fly list" that the TSA will not admit exists, and will not confirm to the people who are on it when they ask if they are.
    Make this mook take the Greyhound bus back to DC! I know that won't happen, though. The Koch brothers will come up with some excuse to give him a ride.

    February 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. Til613

    Shameful! Broun, by not immediately denoucing the hate-monger, is as guilty as the party who asked the question. Yes, the Secret Service should immediately investigate, not only the person who asked the question but also the so-called congressman who utterly failed to condemn not only the questioner but the mentality behind it.

    Broun should be expelled from the House! Unfortunately he won't because the hate-mongers who now control that body love to perpetuate this kind of hate in order to demonize those with whom they disagree.

    Finally, I want to congratulate all those who voted for these hateful people in the last election. You have exposed your complete ignorance and stupidity and have done irreputable harm to your nation. For shame!

    February 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. once upon a horse

    well at least we have good gun laws in this country to prevent such a thing from happening.

    February 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Sniffit

    A witness, Mark Farmer, reported that the Congressman initially LAUGHED at the question. Disgusting. Of course, this is all part of the plan generated by Rove, the Koch brothers, American Majority, et al. As far as they're concerned, by hook or by crook, they're going to hand the country to giant corporate interests and turn the vast majority of us into slave labor, and if they have to rile the gun-loving psychopaths/sociopaths to do it, they don't give a crap...they'll be safely ensconced in their 501(c)(4) anonymity and layered web of non-profit corporate entities. Congressman Brounshirt should be publicly excoriated for his ridiculous, self-serving failure to vehemently denounce that attendee's behavior and throw him out of the town hall on his a$$. But, all we'll hear is a deafening silence, false equivalencies and he-said-she-said "news" media predictably repeating it ad nauseum without any criticism, which only serves to advertise the sociopathic viewpoint, desensitize the public to it and grant it an air of legitimacy and acceptability. Here's a hint, CNN: the headline should read "Scumbag Republican Laughs and Tacitly Encourages Violence against POTUS." FACT.

    "Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism."

    Guess what? The Constitution doesn't prohibit "socialism" (the correct definition) and the two aren't mutually exclusive. That's not support for "socialism" (the correct definition)...that's just a bare bones FACT.

    February 25, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  14. bobcat1a

    I wonder if the same crowd would have found it so funny had someone asked the same question about President Bush. I wonder what Mr Broun would have said in answer.

    February 25, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. PMathew

    I hope this guy gets a visit from the Secret Service. It doesn't matter whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat...a threat against the president should be taken seriously and dealt with accordingly.

    I am originally from Georgia and I hope people realize that not all Georgians are fanatical nutjobs.

    February 25, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. LA, LA, LA

    Braun is worse than the person who made that statement.

    February 25, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. John

    Did the Republicans learn anything at all from what happened in Tucson?

    February 25, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. Mad About It

    Why is the response from many right leaning folks, "Well you guys did it when Bush was president." If we did, we were wrong. I don't remember a question like this one, ever. But even if it did happen, IT DOESN"T MAKE THIS OK. Did your mama teach you anything. IF your friend throws a rock at the teacher, it doesn't mean if you do it its OK.

    February 25, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Darron R. Brown, MD

    Both the questioner and good congressman should be arrested and charged with terrorism, in my humble opinion.

    February 25, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. Roxanne

    We are what we elect. No need to wonder if those who elected idiots like him feel same way as the questioner.

    February 25, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. E1atoM

    The Fright Wing rears its ugly head. THESE are the people who should be shot, not the President whom I'd say is doing a pretty good job. Done more in 2 years than W & Henchmen did in the eight nightmarish years in office.

    February 25, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Any statements that encourage violence need to be condemed. The fact that this member of Congress didn't immediately stop the statement shows that he doesn't care about anyone. I never liked George W(oman) Bush, but I just hoped that he and Cheney resigned which never happened.

    February 25, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. ConservaFascists

    The person who asked the question should be penalized to the fullest extent of the law.

    February 25, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Blamed Nameless

    There is 'NO' greater problem this country will have if something happens to President Barack Obama!! So whoever this idiot is speaking violence more the less against him needs to be dealt with in an appropriate manner by the secret service.

    February 25, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...More to the point: WHERE IS THE SECRET SERVICE?????????????!

    February 25, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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