Romney supporter gags protester with handkerchief at Ohio rally

By Jonathan Terbush
Thursday, July 5, 2012 19:39 EDT
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Screengrab via Crooks and Liars video
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A Mitt Romney supporter literally silenced a chanting protester during a rally in Ohio today for the Republican presidential candidate by shoving a handkerchief into the heckler’s mouth.

Romney was at a strip mall in Parma, Ohio with Louisianna Governor Bobby Jindal (R) and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty for a normal stump event in the crucial swing state. Yet the routine event was overshadowed when a small scuffle erupted as Pawlenty—who is often mentioned as a possible Romney running mate—took the stage to deliver his remarks. A group of people drowned out the former governor with chants of, “Pawlenty go home,” prompting retaliatory shouting and shoving from the Romney supporters in attendance.

At one point, Romney supporter Richard Brysac tried to quiet protester Al Neal by pouring a bottle of water in his mouth. When that didn’t work, he instead balled up a handkerchief and stuffed it in Neal’s mouth, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

From the paper:

“He seemed thirsty, so I tried to shove the bottle in his mouth,” Brysac said. “I thought it was wrong to interfere with [Pawlenty's] freedom of speech.

“I acted out of character and I apologize if I offended anyone.”

Watch footage of the altercation below:


Jonathan Terbush
Jonathan Terbush
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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