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. Mgc

    Hey scott, its the presidents job to speak to events like this and they ALL have. where have you been living.

    July 20, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |

    Ooooops,meant *prepared* not compared! Robme was afraid to comment n stand up to NRA CRAZY Ted Nugent or whatever his name is,so I really don't expect Robme to say too much about changing gun laws. He has of yet,NOT SHOWN any LEADERSHIP ABILITY 4 ANYTHING! When ppl say things like treason,monster,unAmerican,etc. about a sitting President n Robme's face then it's his responsibility to stop that kind of talk right then n now,he puts on that fake smile n says things like,"Those r not the words I would use " but that's the way he feels! NO LEADERSHIP,NO HEART,NO EMPATHY,NO COMPASSION,ETC!! NO NOTHING!! SO I'M SAYING,"NO,ROBME DOES NOT HV MY VOTE!"

    July 20, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. LouAZ

    12 more martyrs to the NRA's paranoia.

    July 20, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. lolo

    I pray for the victims and family, but what gets me about this speech is that he just had to say and as an American. Once again he is using his code for the GOP/TP trolls to lap up. In actuality he is saying I am American and Barack Obama is not. So tell Mittens to stop using politics on this tragic day and everyone else will stop. Also GOP followers I see that you really like taking care of the rich with our taxpayer dollars. No one gets over more off of the government than the rich. They are holding their millions, not creating jobs. This is what Mittens does not want us to see on his tax returns, how much money the government has given him through those loopholes that they do not want to change. Wake up America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As for the person asking about what job does Michelle Obama have, right now she is first lady, but before that she worked as a hospital administrator, mother and wife. Now what job has Ann Romney held besides being a mother and housewife.

    July 20, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. ALEX

    So how is Mitt a an american? How do you define that? Was he not an american before the Colorado incident? The meaning of being american is being compasionate, inclusive, tolerant, less egocentric and more AMERICANCENTRIC, to really be one of the meny. You can be unique and still belong to the american brotherhood. Mitt should be more american.

    July 20, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Sanity

    Looks like Holmes is a registered Democrat, just like the AZ shooter. No wonder Obama is downplaying it.

    Maybe ABC can now start the rumor that the gun was one from Fast & Furious.

    July 20, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. mm

    Mitt Romney calling for unity...Now that is rich.

    July 20, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. winston

    The people trying to exploit the shooting for their political ideology are disgusting.

    "ABC News and Brian Ross are apologizing for an "incorrect" report that James Holmes, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting, may have had connections to the Tea Party.

    "An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect," ABC News said in a statement. "ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted."

    In a similar statement released minutes earlier, ABC News said the report was "incorrect" but did not include the apology. "Several other local residents with similar names were also contacted via social media by members of the public who mistook them for the suspect," the initial statement read."

    July 20, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    "You should get the sour grapes award for the day."
    Well, since this statement makes no sense whatsoever, I guess you don't know what "sour grapes" means.... which comes as no surprise since everything you say is incoherent word salad ranting.

    July 20, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. I'm FOR gun control, it is the only way to hit the target every time

    Wire Palladin, S. F. - Conservatives may control the most wealth, but they are the least American.
    what is your definition of "an American"? wasn't aware there was one besides being a legal citizen of the United States of America.

    July 20, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Socrates

    Romney call for unity after the shooting. After that call all Americans live together and happily ever after. He is such smart guy. By the way, when are you going to disclose your taxes.

    July 20, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. mitt flopney

    Oh c'mon Mitt, you know you'll be flip-flopping on this issue by next week recommending that we all be brandishing assault weapons at midnight screenings

    July 20, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. really??

    Of course the classless liberals would attack somebody just for expressing their condolences...

    July 20, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Joan

    I listened to both gentlemen speak this morning and feel they both were sincere, thoughtful and hurting for the victims and their families. They both called for everyone to come together and support the people of Aurora and to cherish their own families and friends. To criticize either man for the way they reacted is totally inappropriate and ignores the real focus which is the people who were cruelly murdered in a senseless, tragic act. Shame on anyone who is trying to make political points on this horrific event. Where is your conscience?

    July 20, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. nate

    Finally, something I can agree with mitt on.

    What a horrific day, and what is with Colorado?

    July 20, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Tim

    Hadenough I think you have have enough of whatever you are smoking or drinking.

    July 20, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. 2LiveJew

    Playing catch-up as usual, Mitt.

    "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."

    Is this the best your speechwriters could come up with? A Hallmark card dripping with insincerity. Mitt, you are simply incapable of connecting with people. Period.

    Obama? Knocked it out of the park. The Gipper? Reagan would have truly brought us together and lifted us up. Mitt? Stiff as a board. Maybe his humanity got outsourced while he was not running Bain.

    July 20, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Dave

    Romney has no leadership? What? I bet you think Obama does, right? Romney led successful businesses, turn the Olympics around, and left MASS with a surplus. And, Obama? Well, he was a community organizer, and had short time as a senator (where he voted present or voted for a radical agenda). He has not been able to reduce deficits, debt and unemployment as promised – even while he controlled congress for 2 years!

    July 20, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. California Gary

    Prayers go out to the families of those who were gunned down. But don't expect Romney to soften his position on gun control one bit.......the NRA and those that support it pull his strings and he can't afford to irritate them in any way.

    July 20, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    "huh? you do realize the federal government OK'd the selling of weapons to known Mexican drug cartel members? There was no stopping involved. they knew they were doing something illegal."
    Do you realize that they suspected something illegal was going on but AZ gun laws prohibited them from doing anything about it. They could not stop someone going into a gun store and buying a two dozen assault rifles, which is permitted under AZ law. They could not stop that someone from reselling those guns to a person waiting in the parking lot, which is permitted under AZ law. They could not stop the person from driving off because they person had committed no crime. The agents had their hands tied down by liberal AZ gun laws.

    July 20, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Peace

    Hey Mitt, today we are mourning. Tomorrow we are back to our unfinished business: Tax Returns. We haven't forgotten it.

    July 20, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. 1Joyce

    Politics can't be left out of anything, can it? So he had a rally planned when this terrible incident occurred. Instead of talking politics, Romney voiced his concern for the people involved in this tragedy. Yep, that was a terrible thing he did.

    July 20, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. America Beautiful--Minus GOP/TP

    Hey Rommie, you our NOT our prisident. There is only ONE president at a time and currently (and future) Obama is the man. Shut up and keep feeding red poison meat to your bafoons.

    July 20, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Godabed

    look at his face, i don't think it can actually fake remorse. He's just not believable at all. Someone please push the emoticon button on the Romneybot 9000

    July 20, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. ChrisNV

    I really was moved by Romney's words, and I hope and pray that the families and friends of those lost find comfort and solace.

    July 20, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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