July 20th, 2012
01:19 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney calls for unity following Colorado shooting

Bow, New Hampshire (CNN) – A campaign rally for Mitt Romney was devoid of politics following a deadly shooting in Colorado Friday.

"I stand before you today not as a man running for office, but as a father and a grandfather, a husband and an American," Romney said in New Hampshire. "This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another."

A top Romney adviser said the candidate made the decision to set aside his usual stump speech to offer his own personal reflections on the tragedy.

"He wanted to say something," the adviser told CNN.

Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, introduced Romney to the crowd. Ayotte, who is rumored to be high on Romney's vice presidential search list, kept her remarks brief.

To offer a more respectful backdrop to the candidate's remarks, Romney's aides removed campaign signs from the event site in the early morning hours, an adviser to the GOP contender told CNN.

Instead, as Romney spoke to a crowd of approximately 200 supporters, an American flag was positioned behind on stage for the remarks. Another flag flapped in a light breeze overhead.

In his remarks, Romney said Americans' "hearts break" for the victims and families of the shooting, which took place at a movie theater outside of Denver early Friday morning.

"We pray that the wounded will recover, and that those who are grieving will know the nearness of God," Romney said. "Today, we feel not only a sense of grief, but perhaps also of helplessness, but there is something that we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy laden and we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado."

Ahead of Romney's remarks, a couple hundred people who came to watch to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee unleash his latest attacks on President Barack Obama instead were bowing their heads with Father Christian Tutor to pray on behalf of victims and their families.

"I ask all of you to join me in whatever way that you would like to offer a prayer for all those who are mourning and for, of course, our own nation under God," the priest told the crowd.

In an impromptu moment following his remarks, Romney stood just outside the seating area for his event, shaking hands and sharing hugs with nearly all of the supporters who stood in line to meet the candidate. "He just decided to do this," a top Romney adviser explained to CNN.

Tutor, the Anglican priest who gave the prayer and Sen. Kelly Ayotte joined him. Before he left Romney thanked the priest for his "very touching, very moving" remarks.

Romney's campaign said Friday they would pull television advertisements in Colorado.

In a statement released earlier Friday morning, Romney said he and his wife Ann were "deeply saddened" by news of the shooting, which took place at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado.

"We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice," Romney wrote.

An adviser said Romney missed having his wife at his side in New Hampshire. Ann Romney was in Michigan for a campaign event that was cancelled in response to the tragedy.

READ MORE: Obama, after shooting, tells supporters 'Such evil is senseless'

Filed under: Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Yeah... Right

    Obama is full of doo doo. If he wasn't campaigning, he would have made a short comment and went on with what he was doing. Phony.

    July 20, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    This bully bishop doesn't have what it takes to sound human and in pain. There's something missing somewhere in his psyche.
    His words are just that words with no meaning and no sense. I wouldn't believe him if he told me the sun was yellow.

    July 20, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. ge

    as long as the nra owns the politicans nothing will change–one hundred rounds in less than a minute,body armor from head to toe ,if fifteen people would have had guns, the results would have been the same maybe worse

    July 20, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. Marshall

    If banning things works so well, why don't they ban drugs? Why don't they ban murder? (They're already banned, didn't do much)

    July 20, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Sorensen

    What does that empty fake have to say about the NRA? Nothing. Coward.
    Not that Obama has said anything either.
    Welcome to the banana republic.

    July 20, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. Thomas

    @Woman in California, and I proved that Rudy was re-arranging the facts of what I said. So, the liars would be Rudy and yourself. I doubt CNN will post this (they usually don't post rebuttals to the lies of the left, I've responded 3 times but never makes it past the "moderator."). Stop being an "angry black woman.

    Stop being an "angry black woman ?
    Taran , your a sad excuse for a human being , would you say that to your wife , sister , maybe your children ?

    July 20, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |

    Romney the clown should be standing in front of the somila flag where they share the same values ,no healthcare ,no gun control ,no woman's rights or anybody's else's ,no taxes and don't have to show them to get elected ,no roads or bridges to maintain ,and no banking or investment regulations to trip you up,Gop train wreak coming in Nov with romney the clowns driving and BACHMANN as sucide co. Pilot !!

    July 20, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. schiedsrichter

    What happened to the victims of this evil being is tragic, no less. The loss to the surviving family members and friends will be present until the day they die. Nothing other than condolences and prayers are appropriate in the immediate aftermath of an event so heinous. Afterwards, when cooler heads clear from the fog of this injustice, logical – not political – discussions need to be engaged in, so that preventative measures can be evaluated, and implemented if it will truly benefit our Nation as a whole. We do not need zealots from either end of the spectrum (NYC or NRA) sounding off about candidates, or the evils / virtues of gun ownership while the victims' blood still flows from wounds received from this lunatic. Please let these people grieve, morn, bury, and heal without the rhetoric. I'm not an Obama or Romney fan, but they BOTH have shown respect for the victims and their families by their actions in the past 24 hours. Thank you!

    July 20, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  9. ProudMomof3

    I had the opportunity to take part at the BOW, NH Romney event. I brought my children to experience and meet a presidential canidate. When Rev. Tutor spoke, everyone around us, held hands in prayer for the shooting victims in Aurora, CO. It was very moving. Afterward, Gov. Romney was very gracious and he shook everyone's hand for coming. Romney is a gentleman and please consider him as your presidential canidate. He believes in us.

    July 20, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. NameLiz

    You're not the President and it's parasitic how you opportunize to weigh in on this tragedy.

    July 20, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  11. Dee

    Did we not hear the words that the President expressed we need to rally around the people in Colorado as one Nation and yet at this time some are still being political and playing the blame game this could be any one of our families.

    So please everybody for once let's just be civil and pray for these people it obvious we are dealing with a deranged person and there are copycats out there just waiting to act. We should be able to walk and go anywhere without fear.

    July 20, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  12. Carlos

    Notice how all the heartless insensitive comments are coming from conservative right wingers. These are the type of people that will let an 80y/o man just die if he has no health insurance and mock a gay marine current fighting overseas. Now their fear that their guns might be taken away causes to vent hate instead of giving it a rest to allow this tradegy to be mourned proprerly as a nation.

    July 20, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  13. drake mallard

    Romney: Obama mandated contraception so he might take your guns too

    Romney says Obama will erode the rights of gun owners in speech to NRA

    We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners," Romney told thousands of NRA members in St. Louis for their annual convention. "President Obama has not. I will."

    Running for the Senate in 1994, Romney said: "I don't line up with the NRA." A decade later he became a lifetime NRA member

    July 20, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  14. n

    Sorry, but there is no substance in his remarks concerning the tragic chain of events. It's all most like Romney is reading from a Hall Mark Card that he purchased off the rack. I just saying.

    July 20, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  15. AV

    It is in human nature to destroy each other. So many messengers came from god to give and preach the message of love but we still continue path of hate and lust. Let us come together and face the bad times together.
    Pray for those who are not with us, may god bless their soul.

    July 20, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  16. jan

    Romney demonstrated today how he is a unifier not a divider – a leader not a dictator.... AND a compassionate man... not a robot with teleprompter!!!

    July 21, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  17. Stephen

    I am a person who enjoys owning and shooting a fire arm. Everybody keeps calling them weapons, it is a firearm untill someone tries to use it to harm another person at this poing it becomes a weapon. The only people I have ever met that do not like firearms are the people who will not stand up for themselves. All ways looking at other people to solve their problems. At some point maybe these kind of people will realize that they have to solve their own problems. If your afraid to be in public because of things like this, go get your CAC permit. there are to many people afraid of firearms because they have never used one. gun control laws will not stop murders, nothing will and that is a fact that needs to be accepted.

    July 21, 2012 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  18. tony

    tragedy brings all things into perspective. Romneys remarks were hearfelt and very touching. Many many others have said how much he looked like a leader today! Well Done MITT!!

    July 21, 2012 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  19. Matt

    Yeah I'm sure mitt loves everyone and what not. Then how come his party is such a bunch of haters. They are using any tactics to refuse rights to anyone but straight white men!! Mitt's words are as hollow as he is!!

    July 21, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  20. dontbow

    Romney calls for unity as obamya divides it. We need more CHANGE.

    July 21, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  21. GI Joe

    WOW - another stadium full of people.

    Wait........ what? 200?


    July 21, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  22. Randy

    Mitt you are so unsincere. I can not even stand listening to you! You just make me want to throw up! God help us if you become president!

    July 21, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  23. Gurgyl

    Community organizer is 10000000000000 times better than jobs shipper to CHINA for greed, TAZ-CHEATER paid 12.2% while American Middle Class paid 38%. And stashing money in Cayman Islans, Bermuda And SWISS BANKS to evade Taxes, and FLIP-FLOP when his and Pres. Obama healthcare is same., and Massachusetts was 47/50 in job creation leaving Mass big deficit, declares War to Iran shipping jobs to china, etc, etc....enough idiots? Yes, on OBAMA12. Period.
    PS: let Detroit go bankrupt.

    July 21, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  24. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Romney calls for unity following Colorado shooting◄
    And there's nothing negative in that statement that's worth disputing
    But let's hope that Romney sticks with those words and mean it because...
    "I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said but I stand by what I said whatever it was...?"

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    July 21, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  25. Marie MD

    Is he really a man? I often wonder about this guy and what he thinks and what he does.
    He might be human but some of what he has done in the past is open to discussion of how "good" a person hi really might be.

    July 21, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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