Here we go folks. The general election campaign is only a few weeks old and the #ObamaDerangementSyndrome is emerging at Mitt Romney's appearances.
At a Romney town hall today in Euclid, Ohio, a woman in the audience declared that President Obama is "operating outside the structure of our Constitution," and "should be tried for treason" while asking Romney about his views on the balance between the three branches of government.
Romney conveniently ignored the woman’s suggestion that Obama "should be tried for treason" and answered by saying he would respect the different branches of government if he became president.
Here's the complete question:
"We have a president right now that is operating outside the structure of our Constitution (applause). And I want to know, I want to know, I, I wa -- yeah, I do agree he should be tried for treason -- but I want to know what you're going to be able to do to restore balance between the three branches of government and what you are going to be able to do to restore our Constitution in this country."
"Well, as I'm sure you do, I happen to believe the Constitution was not just brilliant but probably inspired," Romney responded. "I happen to believe the same thing about the Declaration of Independence. I would respect the different branches of government if I am fortunate enough to become president."
Later while greeting voters after the event, Romney told reporters that that "of course" he doesn't believe Obama should be tried for treason.
So if he didn't agree, why didn't stand up to the woman and tell everybody during the actual town hall like John McCain did in 2008?
"I answered the question," Romney said. "I don't correct all the questions that get asked of me."
Yeah, that was the same excuse Rick Santorum offered when he allowed a woman in his audience to refer to President Obama an avowed Muslim and someone who is not legally our president. Watch the videos:
The Obama campaign was quick to pounce on Romney's no-response response.
"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 today in a statement. "If this is the 'leadership' he has shown on the campaign trail, what can the American people expect of him as commander-in-chief?"
Why is this such a big deal? Treason is a very serious charge, the only crime specifically defined in the United States Constitution (Article III Section 3). It is punishable by death. For Romney to remain silent when such an serious accusation is thrown out willy nilly at his town hall is simply outrageous.
As mentioned before, the whole episode with Romney today brought to mind the infamous 2008 campaign event when then-GOP presidential nominee John McCain corrected an audience member who said Obama was an Arab. Watch the video:
By not doing the same as McCain, Romney has opened himself up to attack.