Romney faces rowdy town hall crowd
August 24th, 2011
08:43 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney faces rowdy town hall crowd

Lebanon, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mitt Romney got a taste of the rowdy reception some members of Congress have faced at town halls this summer when he was hectored about his positions on issues ranging from government spending to entitlement programs by several voters in Lebanon Wednesday.

The former Massachusetts governor kept a game face on and let each questioner at the Lebanon Senior Center event speak, though at times he did hold out his hand and insist on being allowed to answer the pointed questions.

One woman repeatedly questioned the former Massachusetts governor about his support for a “cut, cap and balance” initiative that would cap federal spending.

"I wish you would speak to the truth rather than say something that you think is a platitude, when in fact we do need the government to spend money," the woman said, citing government support of schools, police stations and for victims of natural disasters.

The woman would not allow Romney to answer her question, and repeatedly talked over him until another audience member confronted her.

"Do you have a question? Do you have a question and let me answer it," Romney said, smiling as the woman continued to interrupt him. "You had your turn madam, now let me have mine. ... Just hold on a moment. Just hold on."

He finished his answer by saying the federal government needed to work within its means to provide for its citizens, which received applause from the audience.

Then Romney turned to a different voter, who asked about campaign finance rules that allow corporations to donate large sums to federal campaigns. Soon another woman chimed in.

"I did hear that there was a company formed which gave your campaign a million dollars - do you remember this? - a few weeks ago," a woman asked. "Can you explain that?"

The woman was referring to a controversial donation given to a pro-Romney political action committee by a corporation started by a former colleague of the governor. The gift came under scrutiny because it was the only action the company took before it was dissolved. The donor, Edward Conard, came forward and acknowledged the donation after it was reported by the national media.

Romney said Conard was a friend who had donated to him during previous campaigns, and said his belated acknowledgment of the gift made the situation "no harm, no foul."

"Was it a company, you say, acting as a person? That may well be. Take it up with him. But there's actually - given the fact that he said, 'Oh it's me,' I don't think there was - if you will, no harm, no foul," he said.

Romney also fielded tough questions from the politically-diverse crowd on his beliefs about the causes of global warming, the health care plan he passed as governor of Massachusetts – one heckler shouted "Romneycare" – and Social Security reform.

The questions came from a variety of audience members and did not appear to be part of a coordinated effort, though a few protesters had gathered outside the event with signs that read "Hands off my Medicare."

Other voters were supportive of the governor, and he was applauded several times after answering hostile questions.

For his part, Romney said he was thrilled by the feisty reception.

"This has been fun, I'll tell ya. This is the most fun I've had in a long time. This is a great group," he told them. "This is what's so fun about town meetings in New Hampshire. You guys care. You're informed."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Ric in Pennsylvania

    This guy is a fraud. He is going to fade like the 2 dollar bill. No substance. Only rhetoric. I think he's a pansy and would be a weak president. God knows who he'd pick for a VP, probably some wacko.

    August 25, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
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