Romney Has ‘Heated’ Exchange With Vet Over Gay Marriage: ‘I Guess the Question Was Too Hot’

Mitt Romney got into a heated exchange with a gay man in a diner in New Hampshire on Monday. The man, apparently a Vietnam veteran, was approached by Romney, and things got testy after the man challenged the candidate on his gay marriage stance.

That man, Bob Garon, was sitting in a booth eating breakfast with his husband. What ensued was something the Washington Post calls “a rare heated confrontation.”

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks to Bob Garon during a campaign stop at the Chez Vachon Restaurant , Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

The Post has the exchange:

While working the room, Romney spotted a man in a flannel shirt wearing a Vietnam Veteran hat and slid in next to him in a booth.

“Vietnam veteran!” Romney greeted Bob Garon.

“I have a question for you,” Garon told the former Massachusetts governor. “New Hampshire right now has some legislation kicking around about a repeal for the same-sex marriage. And all I need is a yes or a no. Do you support the repeal?”

“I support the repeal of the New Hampshire law,” Romney said. “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s my view.”

Garon, who lives in Epson, N.H., and was eating breakfast with his husband, turned to Romney and said: “If two men get married, apparently a veteran’s spouse would not be entitled to any burial benefits or medical benefits or anything that the serviceman has devoted his time and effort to his country, and you just don’t support equality in terms of same-sex marriage?”

“I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney replied, adding, “and we apparently disagree.”

At that, a Romney aide called for him to wrap up the conversation: “Governor, we’ve got to get on with Fox News right now.”

“Oh, I guess the question was too hot,” Garon told Romney.

“No, I gave you the answer,” Romney replied. “You said you had a yes-or-no [question]. I gave you the answer.”

“You did,” Garon said. “And I appreciate your answer. And you know, I also learned something, and New Hampshire is right: You have to look a man in the eye to get a good answer. And you know what, governor? Good luck…. You’re going to need it.”

“You are right about that,” Romney said, as he stood up from the booth and headed into a side room for his interview.

The exchange occurred Chez Vauchon in Manchester. Romney was at the restaurant for a campaign stop with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who officially endorsed Romney on Monday.

After the incident, Garon told reporters he was “definitely offended.”

“He doesn’t even open the door to a conversation,” Garon added. “It’s just a boom! But I did ask him ‘yes or no,’ so I got what I asked for.”

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