Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has already had some awkward moments unfold on the campaign trail. On Monday, yet another intriguing incident befell the prospective GOP nominee during a town hall event in Cleveland, Ohio. During a question and answer period, an audience member openly proclaimed that President Barack Obama should be tried for treason.
Romney, of course, played it safe and remained quiet during the interaction. He did proclaim, though, in a subsequent CNN interview, that he did not agree with the questioner's insinuation that the president be brought up on such charges. The questioner's statement, which was mainly centered upon Constitutional powers and Obama's alleged abuses, certainly put Romney in an odd position.
"We have a president right now that is operating outside the structure of our Constitution," the audience member proclaimed. "And I want to know -- yeah, I do agree he should be tried for treason -- but I want to know what you would be able to do to restore balance between the three branches of government and what you are going to be able to do to restore our Constitution in this country."
The presidential candidate responded very carefully to the question as well as the embedded treason proclamation.
"Well, as I'm sure you do, I happen to believe the Constitution was not just brilliant but probably inspired. I happen to believe the same thing about the Declaration of Independence," Romney replied. "I would respect the different branches of government if I am fortunate enough to become president."
Watch the dialogue unfold, here:
Romney went on to say that he would utilize executive orders just as Obama has. In fact, he said he would grant an order that would provide a waiver for Obama's health care law in all 50 states. While Romney didn't address the treason charge during the town hall, his answer was clearly crafted to avoid the subject.
Here's his response to a CNN reporter about the incident:
Some criticized Romney for not correcting the woman during the interaction, although the candidate was clear in his subsequent interview that he does not agree with such a proposal. The Obama campaign, of course, is using the incident as an opportunity to peg Romney as a weak leader.
"Today we saw Mitt Romney’s version of leadership: standing by silently as his chief surrogate attacked the president’s family at the event and another supporter alleged that the president should be tried for treason," proclaimed Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for Obama re-election campaign. "Time after time in this campaign, Mitt Romney has had the opportunity to show that he has the fortitude to stand up to hateful and over-the-line rhetoric and time after time, he has failed to do so."
What do you think? Should Romney have corrected the woman? Take the poll, below:
(H/T: Huffington Post)