At a town hall event in Ohio this afternoon, a woman asked Mitt Romney what he would do to roll back the size of government, and commented that President Obama “should be tried for treason.” She didn’t explain why Obama had committed treason — which is punishable by death. Her comments received a big round of applause from the audience.
Romney responded to her question, but didn’t condemn or acknowledge her comments on treason. Watch it:
While Romney can’t be held responsible for everything his supporters say, it seems reasonable to expect him to stand up to the fringe in his party, especially when he’s providing a platform for their views (it was his microphone, after all).
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) understood this. At a town hall event in October, 2008, McCain fielded a comment from a woman who said Obama “is an Arab.” “No ma’am,” McCain said, shaking his head and taking the microphone from her hand. “He’s a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with,” he said, earning a mix of applause and boos.
This isn’t the first time Romney has let the fringe push him around. The Romney campaign muzzled, and then accepted the resignation of, former foreign policy adviser Ric Grennell, who had come under fire from social conservatives for being openly gay. “How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me?” asked the man who led the charge against Grennell, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer.
While he was apparently unwilling to say it to the woman’s face, when asked if he agreed with the woman by reporters after the event, Romney said, “No, of course not.”