David Axelrod, communications director for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, held a press conference today on the steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse to highlight some of the more controversial aspects of Mitt Romney's record as governor.
But before he could get started, the event was sabotaged by a group of Romney supporters and aides who jeered, booed and even blew bubbles into the crowd. Shouts of "four more years" were countered with cries of "five more months." Talk of the president's accomplishments were met with chants of Solyndra and Cory Booker -- the latter in reference to the Newark mayor's off-message criticism of the Obama campaign's attacks on Bain Capital.
The end result was a circus, illustrating some of the more juvenile aspects of political campaigns, with one side leveling bromides and the other, boos.
"Thanks for the bubbles -- it was a hell of a lot better than the smoke Mitt Romney blew at us 10 years ago," said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.
The whole charade did, at various points, seem to irritate Axelrod, who starred down at his shoes as he was introduced by a series of local mayors. "You can't handle the truth, my friends, that is the problem," he told the hecklers upon taking the lectern. "If you could handle the truth, then quiet down."
Three questions in, he was asked to address the surrounding fracas. "This is the great pageant of democracy," he replied. "But for those who are concerned about the issue of jobs and debt ... it would behoove them to look at Mitt Romney's record here in Massachusetts."
And that, evidently, was the point. Instead of Axelrod taking free swipes at Romney's record, the story being written concerns the disruptive crowd, and campaign workers at Romney headquarters in Boston get to high-five one another over the disruption they caused.
But the long-term implications are a bit worrisome, because the next time Romney gives a public address, there will almost assuredly be retaliation. As the Washington Examiner's Byron York tweeted: "Team Romney will reap what it sows someday, probably soon."
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