Entries in Protesters (19)


Obama Heckled in Cincinnati by Abortion Protester

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- President Obama was interrupted by a rowdy heckler just minutes into his rally in the critical battleground of Ohio Sunday night.

The anti-abortion protester held up a cardboard sign that read “this moral wrong should never be a constitutional right.”  The sign included some grisly medical photographs.

The older, grey-haired man, who was holding the sign upside down, shouted persistently from the upper balcony of the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena in what sounded like a full-throated holler.

The enthusiastic crowd of 13,500 responded quickly, drowning out the heckler with deafening chants of “four more years!”

“It’s okay… It’s okay,” the president said in response.

The man grabbed the balcony railing and resisted mightily when four law enforcement officials tried to force him out.  The heckler was ultimately removed from the event.

A few moments later, another man standing at the back of the gymnasium interrupted the president again as he was talking about superstorm Sandy.  He too was escorted out of the arena.

“These might have been some Tennessee Titans fans who were mad at the Bears beating them really badly today,” Obama joked before launching back into his stump speech.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Meets with Nevada Donors as Protest Rages Outside

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Hundreds of protesters greeted Paul Ryan on Tuesday as he met with a small group of Nevada donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, at the Venetian hotel.

Protesters gathered outside the casino, chanted “Paul Ryan go home” and waved signs that read, “Romney/Ryan Road to Ruin, “Paul Ryan Hustling for the One Percent” and “This is What Democracy Looks Like?”

The group was mostly made of labor organizations, including the American Federation of Government Employees, who were in Las Vegas for a conference.  They joined up with local labor chapters to protest, including members of the AFL-CIO.

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According to donors leaving the event, there were about 40 people gathered.  Earlier Tuesday, a Ryan aide said the soiree, called a Nevada Finance Leadership Event, was not a fundraiser because no tickets were sold and guests did not pay to attend.  A female donor leaving, who did not want to be identified, said the meeting was to discuss how to raise money for the campaign.

As donors left they were exceptionally press shy, with one woman confirming that Ryan did address the crowd, calling his speech, “wonderful.”  A young man, much younger than most of the donors leaving, described it as a “good event.”

Besides Adelson and Ryan, former Senate candidate Sue Lowden was also slated to attend.

Romney fundraisers in public places, like a hotel as opposed to a private home, are open to a pooled press contingent.  Tuesday evening’s event was closed to the press because the campaign described the meeting as a finance event and not a fundraiser.

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given at least $10 million to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.  They also gave $20 million to a super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich during the primary campaign.  Adelson has vowed to spend $100 million to defeat President Obama.  He recently accompanied Romney on his overseas trip to Israel.

Ryan also addressed a boisterous group at a different rally Tuesday afternoon, telling the crowd they are being given a “clear contrast” and while the president only offers “division and demagoguery,” he and Romney bring “optimism and opportunity.”

“It’s been really exciting, it’s been an exciting few days to get put on the ticket with Gov. Mitt Romney because we feel that we owe you, our fellow citizens, a very clear choice, and a very clear contrast,” Ryan said at a local high school.  “You know why?  ‘Cause it’s not going the right direction.  The president is putting us on the wrong path and we’re going to fix this thing and get America back on track.  This election is going to fly by the next 80 or so days but what you’re going to see and what we’re now seeing from the president is nothing more than division and demagoguery.  We are going to offer optimism and opportunity.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protest Greets Mitt Romney at Hamptons Fundraiser

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y.) -- After a week vacationing in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney headed back to the fundraising circuit on Sunday, appearing with his wife Ann at three private residences in the Hamptons.

One of the high-dollar events was held at the shorefront estate of billionaire David Koch, whose Southampton, N.Y., compound was tightly secured in part because of roughly 150 protesters in the area.  Members of Occupy Wall Street and made up those protesting, shouting and holding signs illustrating their anger towards “money in politics.”

David Segal with the Long Island Progressive Coalition said his group isn’t worried about who’s running for president.  

“What bothers me,” he said as a black stretch-limo drove by, “is that people like David Koch are buying our politicians.”

The Koch fundraiser cost $50,000 a person to attend; $75,000 per couple.  One of the protesters on an adjacent street to the property held a sign that read “Your $50,000 ticket = My yearly salary.”

As a $400,000 dollar Rolls Royce passed the barricaded crowd, they decided to take their message to the beach -- which also serves as the backyard of Koch’s home.  As protesters gathered and sang  "The Star-Spangled Banner," the Secret Service stood atop a sand dune at the edge of the property and looked on.  The beach is public property and no arrests were made.

The New York Times reported Romney was expected to raise over $3 million during the Hamptons swing, which began in East Hampton at the 75-acre estate of Revlon chairman Ron Perelman.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was a special guest at the fundraiser, which cost between $5,000 and $25,000 to attend.  

The third event took place in Southampton as well, on the same street as the Koch’s home.

Although the protesters only got a glimpse of Romney as his motorcade entered and exited the closed Southampton street, they regarded the protest as a success, saying it was an opportunity to take their message to those responsible.

Romney’s fundraising blitz continues on Monday with a private event in Aspen, Colo.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney Stands Up to Protesters for Husband Mitt

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEWARK, Ohio) -- A group of protesters learned a quick lesson on Sunday: Don’t interrupt Ann Romney.

While the wife of candidate Mitt Romney introduced her husband and her sons, all on hand to help their dad celebrate Father’s Day on the trail in Ohio, a group of about 25 protesters could be heard chanting “We are the 99 percent.”

But Ann Romney wasn’t having it, and certainly wasn’t going to let the group steal her husband’s spotlight.

“It’s really wonderful today, it looks like we’re having an emergency in the background,” she paused, as sirens rang nearby.  “But it’s wonderful for me today to have two of my five sons standing with me, one daughter-in-law and a few grandchildren.”

As she spoke, the protesters grew louder, and had managed to get fairly close to event.  Many held signs that read, “Romney Kills Jobs,” while Romney supporters quickly joined the group to counter with their own “Romney for President” placards.

“And so in honor of Father’s Day I’m going to have them talk a little bit about their father,” Ann Romney said.

“So we’re going to start,” she said, the protestors still chanting.  “You know, we’ve got some distracters out there, but you know what?  We love this country and we love families.”

Drowned out by applause from the crowd, Romney paused before continuing, “We can be just as loud about how much we love this country.”

“We’re going to let my sons introduce their father,” she said, not at all flustered by the interruption.  “Let’s start with Craig, my baby.”

Craig Romney and his older brother Matt told stories about their dad before handing the mic over to him.

Mitt Romney himself did not acknowledge the protesters, as he has done in the past, one time referring to them as the “Greek chorus.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


David Axelrod Says Heckling Is a GOP Sport

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(TROY, Ohio) -- President Obama’s senior campaign strategist David Axelrod condemned the protesters who showed up at two of Mitt Romney’s campaign events in Ohio on Sunday while taking a dig at the GOP candidate, noting that the behavior is “their tactic, not ours.”

Axelrod wrote on Twitter, “I strongly condemn heckling along Mitt’s route. Shouting folks down is their tactic, not ours. Let voters hear BOTH candidates & decide.”

Axelrod was referring to an incident last month in which he traveled to Boston to hold a press conference challenging Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.

Members from the Romney campaign and supporters showed up at the press conference, at times drowning out Axelrod.

Similarly, anti-Romney supporters showed up at two of the candidate’s events along his bus tour on Sunday.  The groups -- each of about 25 people -- shouted “we are the 99 percent,” and shouted at Romney to “go home.”  While Romney didn’t pay attention to the protesters, his wife Ann did, referring to them as “distractors.”

“We can be just as loud about how much we love this country,” she said at a rally in Newark, Ohio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney’s Bus Tour Reroutes Due to Protesters

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image(QUAKERTOWN, Pa.) — The Romney bus tour hit a speed bump today when more than a hundred protesters showed up at a gas station where the presumptive GOP presidential candidate was scheduled to make a stop, and the candidate’s motorcade quickly rerouted to another location just three miles away.

Romney himself acknowledged the change in venue — his fourth scheduled stop on a five-day, six-state bus tour — while shaking hands with voters inside a WaWa gas station.

“I was asked, I think you asked me, why we’re at this Wawa, instead of the other WaWa? I understand I had a surrogate over there already, so we decided to pick a different place,” said Romney, who when initially asked about the change had joked that he had moved “just to get a good sandwich.”

“My surrogate is former Gov. Rendell, who said we could win Pennsylvania,” Romney said. “I’m happy to hear that, so we’re happy to be here and see some folks here.”

Despite Romney’s characterization of Ed Rendell, the former Democratic Pennsylvania governor is campaigning for President Obama in Pennsylvania. Romney was referring to an interview with Bloomberg News’ “Bloomberg View” that Rendell gave in which he said the president would not win major sections of the battleground state.

According to local reports, Rendell, along with 150 to 200 anti-Romney protesters, had shown up at the original gas station to tout Obama’s message, speaking ahead of when Romney was scheduled to arrive.

About 50 people greeted Romney at the new location, including a little league baseball team, and the candidate appeared surprised that they had figured out where to find him, remarking, “I wondered how you knew we’d be here.”

Romney spent no more than about 12 minutes at the gas station, quickly re-boarding his campaign bus to head to Cornwall.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Axelrod Nearly Drowned Out by Romney Protesters in Boston

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- When senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod held a press conference on Mitt Romney’s home turf of Boston Thursday morning, the anti-Obama reception was so loud and rowdy that his message was nearly drowned out.
Axelrod stood behind a podium at the foot of the steps to the Massachusetts State House, flanked by Democratic state officials and a few dozen Obama supporters lining the steps behind. His audience: a small bank of TV cameras and dozens of young, pro-Romney activists screaming and shouting just 15 feet away.
The Republican crowd held signs that read “Obama Isn’t Working,” “Broken Promises,” “Axelrod is in Fantasyland.”  They chanted “We want Mitt,” “Where are the jobs?” and “Solyndra, Solyndra, Solyndra.”   The noise was so loud that it was difficult to make out what many of the speakers ahead of Axelrod were saying.
“This reminds me of the time that Eric Fehrnstrom tried to take me down,” said John Barrett, former mayor of North Adams, Ma., of the demonstration.  “He didn’t take me down then, he’s not going to take us down now.” (Fehrnstrom is Romney’s communications director.)
Axelrod, who staged the event as a kick-off for the campaign’s new assault on Romney’s record as governor, seemed visibly distracted as he tried to make his case.
"It is great to be in Massachusetts, Obama country," Axelrod said at the top of his remarks. "I get tweets from some of these folks so I feel close to them. You can shout down speakers my friends but it is hard to Etch-a-Sketch the truth away."
He then moved through talking points the campaign has highlighted in a new research memo and Web video, that Romney failed to keep his gubernatorial campaign promises on the economy, jobs, size of government and debt and would not follow through on the same in the White House.
“If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because the people of Massachusetts have heard it all before,” he said.  “The same promises, the same representations, the very same language. Interestingly, when Gov. Romney rolled out his candidacy just a few miles away in [New Hampshire] a few weeks ago after he clinched the nomination, he spoke for 15 or 20 minutes and never found the time to mention that he once had been the governor of Massachusetts, the one elective office he ever held. And there’s good reason for that."
“The Massachusetts record was alarmingly weak,” he said.
Axelrod tried to take questions from reporters, who had to crouch down and shout so he could hear.  Protesters chanted “Where are the jobs?” over and over.
“You can’t handle the truth my friends. That’s the problem. If you could handle the truth, you’d quiet down,” Axelrod said.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith shrugged off the debacle and said the campaign has plenty of time to have their message break through.
“This is the first time that anyone has gone out and given a full synopsis of what he did in Massachusetts, and we have five months to go in this campaign,” she said. “This is just the introduction of it. Clearly they resorted to some juvenile and circus-like tactics Thursday to try to drown it out but they can’t drown it out for five straight months.”
During a press conference of his own outside Solyndra, Inc., in Freemont, Calif., Mitt Romney said he wouldn’t apologize for the hecklers at Axelrod’s event, claiming Democrats have infiltrated some of his.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the governor’s statement “invents a mythic event in which our campaign ‘heckled’ him.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Squares Off with Occupy Protesters in Washington State

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(TACOMA, Wash.) -- Rick Santorum's rally in Tacoma, Wash., Monday evening was interrupted by Occupy protesters, but the candidate didn't back down.

Santorum had to shout over about a dozen protesters, who have their camp set up in a park adjacent to the amphitheater. The GOP hopeful said they represent a “radical element.”

“I think it’s really important for you to understand what this radical element represents,” he said to the cheering crowd of about 350 people. “Because what they represent is true intolerance.”

The former Pennsylvania senator compared the protesters to the recent decision by a U.S. Appeals court in California that ruled the state’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional.

“That’s what the 9th circuit said when they handed down the decision striking down Proposition 8.  What they said was that anybody who disagreed with them were irrational and the only reason they could possibly agree is they were a hater or a bigot,” Santorum said.  “Now I gotta tell you.  I don’t agree with these people but I respect their opportunity to be able to have a different point of view and I don’t think they’re a hater or a bigot because they disagree with me.”

The protesters shouted, “We are the 99 percent,” and some of the Santorum supporters chanted back, “USA!” all creating a chaotic atmosphere, but the candidate stayed on message even when the two sides got into a scuffle.  Tacoma Police dragged out and cuffed two of the occupiers, but left the rest of the group there, who continued to try to stifle Santorum's speech.

After the event, another protester directly "glitter-bombed" Santorum, and she was arrested as well.  This is at least the sixth time Santorum has been doused with glitter at an event, but Monday evening was probably the most direct hit.  The GOP chairman thanked Santorum for coming and apologized for the glitter incident.

Sgt. Paul Jagodinski of the Tacoma Police Department confirmed that three people were arrested at the rally.

At one point during the 45-minute event, the crowd started chanting, “Get a job!” to the group of protesters and it was then that the candidate took the opportunity to try and empathize with the movement, although he also called them “intolerant and disrespectful.”

“You realize that there is a group in society that is being left behind.  There’s a group, about one in three Americans don’t graduate from high school, and almost all of them, over three quarters of them, will end up in poverty at some point in time in this country.  We’ve got to provide an opportunity for them, instead of standing here unemployed yelling at somebody, to go out and get a job and work for a living!” Santorum said before pausing while both sides screamed at each other.  “I understand their frustration, for three years they haven’t been able to find work, they have a president who doesn’t care about them.”

Santorum criticized President Obama and accused him of encouraging the movement, saying Obama is “trying to divide America into one percentage versus another percentage. That’s not what a leader of this country should do but Barack Obama has sided with the 99 versus one.”

“He supported this movement, this movement that is intolerant and disrespectful. He supported them and embraced them,” Santorum said to loud cheers from his supporters. “Why?  Because it’s consistent with exactly what Barack Obama’s trying to do with this country.”

He also criticized the president’s budget, which he released Monday morning, calling it “another tax the rich scheme.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protesters Surround Santorum and Family After Final NH Pitch

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Rick Santorum had his final rally Monday night before Granite Staters start voting Tuesday morning in the first-in-the-nation primary.

Supporters and press mobbed the candidate as he made his way around the packed restaurant and bar. As he exited his final primary eve event, he was surrounded by a mix of protesters from the Occupy movement and Ron Paul supporters.

As he walked out of Jillian’s in downtown Manchester, his staff surrounded him and the protesters tried to form a circle around the former Pennsylvania senator. They chanted, “Bigot, bigot!” and “Shame, shame!” as he made his way to his car.

Police and security were on hand and during the crush one member of the candidate’s entourage got shoved to the ground, as did one of the protesters.

Santorum smiled as he walked the short distance from the restaurant, but a serious scuffle ensued, and his wife Karen had a frightened look on her face. Two of his children, Elizabeth and Daniel, followed closely behind. His other children, including his 3-year-old daughter Bella, who has a rare genetic condition, are already in South Carolina.

Just minutes before, he gave his closing pitch to supporters, telling them this may be his “ending rally” in New Hampshire, but promised to be back “in the fall as the nominee.”

“This is your moment,” he told New Hampshire voters, before railing into the president.

“If Barack Obama is re-elected, America as we know it will be gone,” Santorum said. “We will be a country that is no longer independent.”

He asked supporters to “go out and vote for someone” who believes in the state motto, “Live Free or Die.”

“This president does not believe and establishment Republicans don’t believe much of it either,” Santorum told the crowd of about 150. “‘You are the ‘Live Free or Die’ state; tomorrow prove it. Go out and vote for someone who believes in that motto … and you will shake up not just this country but this world.”

He said earlier Monday that he would be “ecstatic” with a number-two showing Tuesday, but polling has both Mitt Romney and Ron Paul ahead of him in the state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney, Christie Clash with Occupy Protesters at NH Rally

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(EXETER, N.H.) -- At a New Hampshire rally meant to be all about boosting support for Mitt Romney, protesters instead took center stage on Sunday, evoking colorful responses from both Romney and his outspoken surrogate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who at one time referred to one of the protesters as “sweetheart.”

“Really?” said Christie, as soon as protesters interrupted him -- the second outburst of the night from the group, who had already gone after Romney.  “You know, something may go down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.”

“See it’s this confusion that’s out there because if she was in New Jersey like these Jersey girls out there she would know that we’ve created 60,000 new private sector jobs after Jon Corzine killed 120,000,” Christie said.  “And if she wasn’t so blinded by her Barack Obama-induced anger, she’d know that American jobs are coming back when Mitt Romney is the next president of the United States, and if she wasn’t so disorientated by the loss of hope and change she’d understand that Mitt Romney is the hope for America’s future.”

Christie continued on, going further to blame the protester’s anger on Obama.

“See, beware, this is a warning, this is a cautionary tale, be inspired by someone who has built a life that America can be proud of, not by a Chicago ward politician,” Christie said.  “I doubt he is, but I hope the president’s watching.  I have a message for you Mr. President.  This is the type of disoriented anger your cynicism and your division is causing in our country.  Bring our country together, stop dividing it, Mr. President."

“On second thought, Mr. President, if you’re up there in the family quarters of the White House, put your feet up and don’t worry about it.  Mitt Romney’s going to bring America together,” Christie added.

The protesters, members of a local Occupy Wall Street contingent, had already disrupted Romney’s speech before Christie took the microphone.

Romney, who has dealt with protestors a few times now during his campaign events across the country, quickly shot back, “Oh, this is our regular crowd here.”

“We’re happy to have you guys express your views,” he said.  “Next time do it with more courtesy.”

But when Romney was approached again by protesters in the overflow room after the event, his patience seemed to have been worn thin.

As protestors yelled about who was to blame for the failing economy, Romney spun around on his heels, going back to address the crowd.

“You know what?” Romney said.  “This president has caused a deepening recession and is responsible for 25 million Americans being out of work or stopped working or not being able to get jobs, and let me tell you, this president’s been a failure and that’s one of the reasons I’m running is to help you get a job.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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