As if they didn’t have their hands full addressing their rivals’ attacks, three of the GOP presidential campaigns had run-ins or near run-ins with Occupy Wall Street protestors on Monday night in New Hampshire.
At a rally in Bedford, Mitt Romney took the unprecedented step of asking a question of a group of protesters when they began chanting, "Live free or die!! Always occupy!" He said: “How about, instead of shouting, why don’t you say what you mean? What’s your view?”
After a few exchanges, Romney sought to turn the incident into a jab at President Obama: “Who’s the president who’s spending more money to campaign than any in the history of America? … And you know what, this country is too important to hand over to President Obama for a second term.”
Romney later told the audience: “I get the chance to see these guys who come out here to protest and now and then I ask them, tell me, what would you replace America with, what kind of system would you have? “
When a Romney supported shouted, “They don’t know,” the former Massachusetts governor agreed: “They don’t know! And the truth is, there has never been any place on earth that has freed people from poverty like free enterprise American style… and that’s why in this room, we’re going to stand up and live free or die for freedom for us and for our kids.”
Meanwhile, in Manchester, Newt Gingrich’s campaign canceled a scheduled stop by the candidate at his New Hampshire headquarters, citing security concerns. The decision came after a crowd of more than 50 people gathered outside the offices, including some Occupy Wall Street protestors in addition to Gingrich backers.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said the campaign’s security team had security concerns about the entrance and exit and made the decision not to have Gingrich stop there.
"We decided that it wasn't worth risking some kind of big confrontation," Gingrich told Fox News' Sean Hannity later.
Elsewhere in Manchester, a group of about 15 protestors surrounded Rick Santorum and chanted “bigot” at him as he walked into an evening rally.
Naureen Khan contributed