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. NVa Native

    Romoney was a draft dodger who went so far as to leave the country....he was dodging the draft in France!! The place the Repubs love to hate?!
    But the tee-baggers and GOP chicken-hawks are ok with Mitt hidding out in France during the Vietnam War??

    July 20, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. rta

    we have only one president. not a president want a be, not someone trying to upstage. He could just support the president but no mitt romney sounds like ward cleaver and eddie haskell all roll in one. anyone trying that hard to sound sincere, isn't. it is just like his wife's statement "you people. romney just got to England to your fund raisers, you are better suited over there with your rich , lying , crooked friends

    July 20, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Glenn Doty

    Thank you Mitt Romney.

    I'm a supporter of our President, but some things are far too important for politics. I expected the level of statesmanship the president showed this morning... but I am quite pleased to see it matched by Mr Romney.

    Thank you again, for being a better man then your campaign had led me to believe.

    July 20, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. A Kickin` Donkey

    Mitt, you are not the President of the United States. It is inappropriate for you to make a public comment/ statement of any type.

    Other than being a politician, WHAT REASON do you have for making a ststement – – or thinking that anyone would care what you have to say?

    Classy might be a private note to each individual victim/ family. This would be the personal & private touch instead of the public play for unofficial "equal stature" with the POTUS.

    Want to impress me? A week from now, meet with the victims families and ask them what they`d like you to do about gun sales, background checks, high capacity magazines, etc.

    Stp pandering and tell us how this tragedy has shaped your world view. How did the Giffords assasination attempt

    July 20, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. packerfans

    Vote for Mitt Romeny who can save America!!! Obama want to be King above the Law and broken fedral Laws many time and lies many time . DONT VOTE OBAMA !!! Let MITT take Over his office 2013 !!!

    July 20, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Woman In California


    It is truly sad that the liberal democrates on here take their hatred and continue to spew it even in view of the tragedy and Romney's comments. Romney's comments are similar to Obama's, yet the hatred you spew is sad. At least Romney has taken the opportunity to move away from politics for the day out of respect. The Romney bashers on here clearly don't have any respect.

    Sweetie, wipe your tears away and read this: "I stand before you today not as a man running for office,
    No mention of politics right? Not much huh?

    July 20, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Ya know, as much as I dislike Romney, I find it hard to believe, at least in this instance, that his words were not sincere. Both he and the president expressed sincere shock and sadness, and I wish people would put their partisanship aside for once and hear what both of these men are trying to say on this horrible tragedy. What is frankly appalling is that, in wake of this massacre, people on this site are littering the boards with partisan, ad hominem attacks on the candidates and each other: stop being a bunch of ambulance chasers and honor the dead. If you have nothing positive to say, don't comment. Your partisan views serve no purpose today.

    July 20, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. BHPT

    Mitt – instead of praying, why don't you sit down with the NRA and tell them to start getting real?
    Oh -that's right – they tell YOU what THEY want. Sorry

    July 20, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Guest

    I may not like Romney, and I'll definitely vote against him in November, but I'll tip my hat to him and his campaign staff for going so far as to even remove their campaign signs in order to not politicize this tragedy.

    July 20, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. alwaysadem

    Say a prayer for the poor people who just went to see a movie and some treacherous maniac with a gun attacked them. To their families and friends peace be with you. Not the time to discuss but to all you nra folks do you ever have a doubt about every person having guns? Obama 2012

    July 20, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Najie

    Reporter to Willard Romney: "Mr. Romney, what are your reactions to the shooting?
    Mr. ROMNEY TO REPORTER: " I think the President has failed miserably is addressig the subject during his first term in office...."

    July 20, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. difoderit


    Mitt should keep BLASTING Obama

    classy choice of words there freelance – typical Concervative though wouldn't expect anything less....

    July 20, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. sophia

    He is so out of touch, I stand before you not as a man running for president etc etc etc.... Blah blah blah! If he wasn't standing there as a man who is running for president is I wonder who wrote this speech!?

    July 20, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. raya

    Deadly shooting like needs reminds republican like Mitt to call for unity for 1 min and forget about it next min. Otherwise your fellow republican would not reject the job bill to bring back the outsourced jobs. Learn the unity among yourself than coming behind microphone and preach us.

    July 20, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Name

    Romney has aged like 10 years, and this just campagining. He starts to looks less capable to me as time goes by.

    July 20, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Investment Advisor

    @ The Real Tom Paine....Well said and thoughtful...Thankyou.

    July 20, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Obama Sucks

    If you compare the speeches you really see the huge difference in class between Obama and Romney.

    Romney says nothing about politics. Obama says "this isn't a day for politics" and literally in the next breath starts into politics..

    July 20, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Mitt that is right. May God bless America because that is what made the U.S. the nation that it is. Mitt you mentioned Godt, and quoted Paul what we need is an American President that will steer America back to what made this country a Nation " under God' God bless you Romney.

    July 20, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Angelus

    Mitt that is right. May God bless America because that is what made the U.S. the nation that it is. Mitt you mentioned Godt, and quoted Paul what we need is an American President that will steer America back to what made this country a Nation " under God' God bless you Romney.

    July 20, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. WDinDallas

    Romney is character....check out snopes for Romney assited in the search for his business partner's missing daughter.

    Mitt Romney's character.... This facet of Mitt Romney's personality isn't so subtle.

    In July 1996, the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at
    Bain Capital, had disappeared. She had attended a rave party in New
    York City and gotten high on ecstasy. Three days later, her
    distraught father had no idea where she was.

    Romney took immediate action. He closed down the entire firm and
    asked all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to help find
    Gay's daughter. Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia
    Marriott and hired a private detective firm to assist with the search.
    He established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort
    with the NYPD, and went through his Rolodex and called everyone Bain
    did business with in New York, and asked them to help find his
    friend's missing daughter.

    July 20, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. when your nightmares end WILLARD begins

    the right wingers here blasting liberals for making stupid heartless statements need only go and read what some of their group said under the Obama statement. Too bad the namecalling and finger pointing still goes on no matter what the situation may be.

    July 20, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Investment Advisor

    Woman in California....Haven't you said enough today? Give it a rest.

    July 20, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. rrd

    Woman In California so you think the only way to serve and protect our country is during a war? Surely Obama could have enlisted during peace time and help protect this country. Or was he too busy being a community organizer?

    July 20, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. Angelus

    Romeny deserves respect for speaking about GOD unlike many other people that are hateful of God when it was people of great faith that made this Nation into what it is. If you don't want to hear about God then leave the U.S.

    July 20, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. John

    At least the candidates had the class to put politics away in light of this terrible tradgedy. Too bad many of their supporters could not. Shame on all of you who commented here in such inappropriate ways. May God bless and be with everyone impacted by this senseless act.

    July 20, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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