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Romney supporter gags protester with handkerchief at Ohio rally

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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.

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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.”

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Watch footage of the altercation below:

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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