Citing ‘security concerns’, Romney supporters were not allowed to leave his Pennsylvania campaign rally even though the crowd had been waiting in the freezing cold for the tardy candidate for hours.
Reporters at the event tweeted the chaos as Romney supporters were forbidden to leave the event.
Michael Barbaro of The New York Times,
Barbaro then tweeted a clarification that staffers had told reporters that it wasn’t cold enough to allow the crowd to leave.
In this world of instant political media shorthand, the story was changed to Romney campaign won’t let his supporters out. In reality, it was the Romney campaign, volunteers, and the Secret Service not letting people out.
Both volunteers and a secret service were trying to keep people in- it was not just Romney staff.
— Jackie Kucinich (@JFKucinich) November 5, 2012
It is difficult to believe that a photo-op obsessed campaign like Romney’s would just have security in mind. The people who came to this rally already went through security when they entered, so the whole idea that letting out some cold children would present a security threat is laughable. (The Romney campaign has already demonstrated their fear of children with their refusal to take questions from Nickelodeon, so anything is possible, I guess.) As a person who spent years working with venues and security details, I can tell you that those children and people could have been allowed to leave the venue while posing zero security risk to anyone.
My own experience tells me that this was less about security, and more about Romney preserving the image of viability and vitality that he is desperately chasing around the country.
The point that is being overlooked is that Mitt Romney is supposed to be this organized businessman who can “fix the economy,” but he also is the same guy whose campaign pulled the douchebag move of leaving his supporters out in the cold for hours. (His campaign knew they had been delayed. They could have done things to keep the crowd comfortable, but they chose not to.)
Mitt Romney has been unable to shake the impression that he is a corporate raider, heartless SOB, and fair or not, debacles like the one in Pennsylvania will only serve to reinforce this notion.
The storyline that the Romney campaign wanted out of this rally was that they are on the move and expanding the electoral map. Instead, “I feel like a caged animal,” is the takeaway line.
Whether it was the fault of the campaign, volunteers, or the Secret Service, this just makes Romney look bad.
Nothing says that you care about regular people like illegally imprisoning your own supporters while you are running late.
Isn’t that right, Mitt Romney?
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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