Nothing says a general election is in full swing like a group of college-aged hecklers disrupting a political speech! This was precisely the scene outside of the Massachusetts State House on Thursday, where a youthful bunch of Mitt Romney staffers and volunteers attempted to overpower a speech by top Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod with chants like “Solyndra! Solyndra!”
Axelrod’s speech in Boston was delivered as the Obama campaign attempts to home in on Romney’s economic record in Massachusetts, as we discussed with the state’s current governor (and Obama campaign surrogate). Specifically, Axelrod took aim at Massachusetts’ job creation under Romney, when the state ranked 47th out of 50.
Axelrod handled the confrontation with an improvised jab of his own, informing the hecklers, “You can chant down speakers my friend, but it’s hard to Etch-A-Sketch the truth away.” Axelrod even managed to attack Romney’s jobs record while addressing the protestors, saying of the protesting campaign staffers: “I’m glad the governor’s finally started creating jobs in Massachusetts.”
Joe Scarborough acknowledged it’s par for the course for opposing political parties to heckle at rallies, but it’s another for Romney to discuss it on television.
For his part, Romney seemed to suggest the heckling was part of a larger back and forth exchange:
At some point you say sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If they’re going to be heckling us, well we’re not going to sit back and play by very different rules. If the president is going to have his people come into my rallies and heckling, we’ll show them we conservatives have the same capacity he does.
Sauce for the gander, eh?
While Mika Brzezinski expressed shock at such an underhanded tactic, Joe Scarborough was more concerned with the Romney campaign’s willingness to openly take credit for engineering what was meant appear organic: “If I sent people to somebody else’s rally, I wouldn’t be talking about it on TV. I am stunned,” Scarborough said.
Is heckling a campaign event fair game in Presidential politics? Should Romney’s campaign have admitted to engineering the display? Join our conversation and tell us what you think!