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Mitt Romney brushes off Occupy protest at caucus-eve rally

January 02, 2012|By Seema Mehta
  • Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign event in Marion, Iowa.
Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign event in Marion, Iowa. (Evan Vucci )

Reporting from Clive, Iowa — Protesters associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement disrupted a campaign event held by Mitt Romney, a frequent occurrence at several candidates' appearances in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses.

Romney was several minutes into his standard stump speech when a protestor yelled, "Mic Check!" It was difficult to hear the man, but he yelled something about Romney's corporate ties. Romney's supporters, several hundred people packed into a manufacturing plant, yelled, "Mitt is it! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!"

Romney thanked them and said, "Let's talk about the Constitution again."

The protesters responded by bringing up a recent Supreme Court decision that allows donors to give as much money as they want to certain political organizations without disclosing their identities.

"Citizens United is not part of the Constitution!" the protestor said. Other protesters called for reducing spending on wars and ending what they say is the war on the poor.

Romney supporters countered, "Get a job"  and "Go to work," drawing laughs from the crowd and the candidate, who was not flustered by the interruption.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha," Romney said. "Hey, you guys, isn't it great to live in a country where people can express their views?"

Romney said he hoped Occupy protesters would treat President Obama the same way if he were there.

There were multiple protesters in the crowd, and at least one was led out of the event by three police officers. A statement from Occupy Iowa said three were arrested.

Romney likely had warning that the protests were occurring. Before the event, a group of young people had gathered outside the event and was being videotaped by police. An older man who was wearing a red bathrobe and said he was part of the 99% was arrested inside the event before it began and led in handcuffs to a paddy wagon.

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