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Mitt Romney rally in Ohio disrupted by protesters

June 17, 2012|By Michael Finnegan
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is joined in Troy, Ohio, by Rep. Rob Portman, left rear, and House Speaker John A Boehner, right.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is joined in Troy, Ohio,… (Joe Raedle / Getty Images )

TROY, Ohio – Noisy protesters on Mitt Romney’s five-day tour of small-town America started off as a nuisance in Pennsylvania. But on Sunday in Ohio, they pulled off a full-scale disruption of his Main Street rally with House Speaker John A. Boehner.

“Romney, go home!” a dozen or so screamed from the crowd of several hundred Romney supporters in this small town in Boehner’s congressional district. Boehner shouted to be heard over the din.

“President Obama and Democrat colleagues in the Senate continue to block all of the bills that we send over there,” Boehner hollered. “We need to get rid of the roadblock, and we need to put somebody in the White House who understands our economy and who will work with us to put the American people back together again.”

Romney also spoke as loudly as he could while nervous campaign staff scurried about, trying to figure out how to stifle the commotion. “Romney, go home!” the chants continued.

With a bank of news cameras on a platform overlooking the scene, involving the police or Secret Service presented a risky option.

Midway through Romney’s stump speech, his aides placed loudspeakers in front of the protesters -- to little effect. Romney tried to ignore the noise.

His wife, Ann, had taken another tack at an earlier rally outside an ornate courthouse in Newark, Ohio, where protesters behind police barricades shouted, “We’re the 99%!”

“We’ve got some distracters out there,” she told the crowd of a few thousand, which erupted in cheers to drown out the demonstrators. “But you know what? We love this country, and we love families.”

The Democratic National Committee has organized anti-Romney “middle-class under the bus” protests to track his five-day trek across the rural areas and small towns of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan.

But one of the Troy demonstrators, Dominic Mendiola of Hartville, Ohio, said their group was organized by Ironworkers Local 550 in Canton, Ohio.

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