Correction: This story initially misattributed a quote about Obama staffers. It came from DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse.
The Obama campaign tried to highlight issues with Mitt Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor at a press conference on Thursday on the State House steps in Boston, but the chaotic event seemed more like dueling rallies.
Romney aides and supporters showed up to tout their own message before Obama senior adviser David Axelrod arrived. The two camps attempted to shout each other down throughout Axelrod’s press conference, with "fired up and ready to go" from the Obama side met with cries of "Mitt, Mitt, Mitt.”
"You can chant down speakers, my friend, but it's hard to Etch-A-Sketch the truth away," Axelrod said to the hecklers. He called the melee “a pageant of democracy” and added, "These might be the only Romney voters in the state of Massachusetts."
The commotion appeared to be a concerted effort by the Romney campaign and its supporters to disrupt the event. After their counter-rally, the Romney team left the speakers on for maximum din.
Axelrod attempted to forge ahead.
“Romney economics didn’t work then and it won’t work now,” he said, going through a laundry list of Romney policies that he said were detrimental to the state. Axelrod also charged that Romney used the state as means to achieve larger ambitions. “He was a drive-by governor here for the purposes of running for president of the United States,” he said.
Asked about the Axelrod event by reporters in California, Romney said that "many of the events I go to, there are large groups of, if you will, Obama supporters there heckling me. And at some point you say, you know what, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If they’re going to be heckling us, why we’re not going to sit back and play by very different rules. If the president is going to have his people coming to my rallies, and heckling, why, we’ll show them that, you know, we conservatives have the same kind of capacity he does."
On a conference call sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, spokesman Brad Woodhouse said Obama staffers have never tried to disrupt a Romney event -- but “maybe we will have to do that now.”
Sarah Huisenga and Walt Cronkite contributed.