Not all smooth sailing for Romney in Maine
Republican Mitt Romney found it was not all smooth sailing in Maine on Friday night when he was heckled repeatedly at a town hall meeting in Portland at a marine storage and repair facility.
Romney jetted in from Washington to fire up his base a day before the Maine Republican Party announces the results of a week-long caucusing process. But the well-attended meeting wasn’t without some unexpected drama that showed the candidate’s testy side.
The event’s second question centered on “stashing your money away in Cayman Islands,” based on investment strategies revealed when Romney recently released his 2010 tax returns. “ First of all, first of all, I’ll have to take a look at what the trustee says,” Romney said, adding that his fortune — estimated to be as high as $250 million — has been managed in a blind trust for ten years.
When Romney later talked about the importance of increasing domestic oil production, an audience member yelled, “NO FRACKING, NO FRACKING,” referring to the technique for extracting oil and natural gas from deep underground by the injection of a highly pressurized fluid. Fracking has been linked to a number of unintended consequences, from water contamination to earthquakes. A brief, heated exchange followed, before Romney finally shot back, “don’t get so upset about it, madam. It’s not worth getting upset about.”
On the Keystone Pipeline itself, Romney said, “If you don’t want oil from Canada, vote for Barack Obama.”
Romney also endured heckling on his proposal to immediately overturn President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms if elected president. “OBAMACARE IS ROMNEYCARE,” shouted a man with a ponytail. And when Romney used one of his standard stump lines –- that U.S. household incomes have fallen under Obama’s watch, the same man yelled, “THERE’S A RECESSION GOING ON, MISTER ROMNEY!”
Another one of Romney’s regular riffs, about the need to roll back Dodd-Frank regulations on the banking sector, drew an angry retort: “IT WAS THE LARGE BANKS THAT CRASHED OUR ECONOMY, SIR. THEY NEED TO BE REGULATED.”
When the heckler continued, Romney shot back, “It’s my turn to speak now. You’ve had your turn.”
Most of the other audience members backed Romney, hissing at the hecklers and telling them to be quiet. The two were soon removed from the event by authorities.
The state-by-state Republican nominating contest goes quiet after Maine for a couple of weeks. Romney is still favored to win in Maine over Texas Congressman Ron Paul. But a little break from campaigning probably can’t come soon enough.
Photo credits: Mitt Romney at a campaign stop in Portland, Maine, February 10, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder