DES MOINES, Iowa Aug 11 Republican Mitt Romney
sparred on Thursday with a group of hecklers at the Iowa state
fair who chanted "Wall Street greed" and interrupted his
answers about the Social Security U.S. retirement program.
Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential
nomination in 2012, was taking questions from the crowd after a
talk at the state fair when the heated exchange broke out over
whether the wealthy should pay more into Social Security.
"If you don't like my answer, you can vote for someone
else," Romney said as the hecklers repeatedly interrupted him
with shouts. "I'm not going to raise taxes, that's my answer.
If you want someone who will raise taxes, vote for Barack
Romney was visiting the state fair before participating in
a Thursday night debate with seven other Republican
He said Social Security and the Medicare and Medicaid
healthcare programs for the elderly and poor would have to be
part of a long-term solution to the budget deficit.
"We have to make sure that the promises we make in Social
Security, Medicaid and Medicare are promises we can keep," he
said, rejecting a shouted suggestion that corporations should
face higher taxes.
"Corporations are people, my friend," said Romney, the
former head of a private equity fund and the former governor of
Massachusetts. "Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to
people. Where do you think it goes?"
Romney has touted his business background in the Republican
race. He told the crowd he "didn't inhale politics" while
serving as governor.
He dismissed the hecklers at the end of the stormy session.
"These guys up front won't be voting for me," he said.
(Reporting by John Whitesides; editing by Mohammad Zargham)