Romney backer sees treason, Obama's campaign cries foul

EUCLID, Ohio Mon May 7, 2012 6:50pm EDT

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney shakes hands with supporters during a rally at Crofton Industries in Portsmouth, Virginia May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Makela

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney shakes hands with supporters during a rally at Crofton Industries in Portsmouth, Virginia May 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Makela

Related Topics

EUCLID, Ohio (Reuters) - It was one of the defining moments of the 2008 presidential campaign: A woman at a rally for Republican John McCain, while asking McCain a question, called Democratic contender Barack Obama "an Arab" who couldn't be trusted.

McCain took the microphone and said, "No ma'am. He's a decent family man ... who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues." McCain's response symbolized his discomfort with the volatile crowds he was seeing as his campaign faded during the final days of the 2008 race.

On Monday, at a factory in this Ohio community near Cleveland the crowd that greeted Mitt Romney wasn't angry, but the Republican presidential candidate faced a similar situation.

A woman asked Romney whether he thought Obama was "operating outside the structure of our Constitution." The woman then added that the president "should be tried for treason."

Romney, who spent much of his appearance criticizing Obama's efforts to create jobs, responded by ignoring that part of the woman's question and focusing on recent comments Obama had made about the U.S. Supreme Court.

After the event, Romney told CNN that he did not agree that Obama should be tried for treason.

"I don't correct all of the questions that get asked of me," he said. "Obviously, I don't agree that he should be tried."

By then, Obama's spin machine was in high gear, accusing Romney of a lack of leadership for not disagreeing with the questioner's accusation of treason.

"Time after time in this campaign, Mitt Romney has had the opportunity to show that he has the fortitude to stand up to hateful and over-the-line rhetoric and time after time, he has failed to do so," Obama campaign spokesman Lis Smith said in a statement.

For Obama's staff the episode, however inflated, was a chance to go on the offensive. Obama's campaign recently has been muted by a diplomatic controversy in China, polls suggesting Romney's ratings were up in some key states, and Vice President Joe Biden's support for same-sex marriage, which highlighted Obama's own reluctance to embrace the idea.

Before Romney's appearance in Ohio, the Obama campaign already had begun to emphasize a new narrative with a video ad that addressed what is likely to be the president's biggest vulnerability: the sluggish economy.

The ad - which will air in nine battleground states - makes a point of saying that Obama inherited a devastated economy, and portrayed the president as leading an American comeback.

(Jeff Mason reported from Washington; Editing by David Lindsey and Christopher Wilson)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (43)
Forsythkid wrote:
From the mouths of babes comes the truth.

May 07, 2012 7:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bjoh249 wrote:
Reuters, your liberal bias is showing again.

May 07, 2012 7:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
darat23 wrote:
And why shouldn’t he be tried of treason? He has made every effort to dismantle the constitution successfully on the first, second and fourth amendments I might add, he has sworn to protect the constitution. He has lied about his birth and being a US citizen, if you go to the White House’s own web site pull up his birth certificate in flash you will see the most blatant forgery ever. He has pushed for socialist reforms when the majority of American’s said heck no to what he was proposing thus going against the people. And many of us just cant seem to get past the shenanigans that got him in the first place where did those votes come from? The list is long he is a bonified traitor AKA Manchurian president (a great read for those of you who aren’t lemmings and want to read the truth about his associations with Bill Ayers and communist, socialist party and what his friends from school say about him in Malaysia where he was a citizen and was a muslem.

May 07, 2012 7:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.