BEDFORD, NH-- Maybe it was sharing the stage with N.J. Gov. Chris Christie last night that did it, but Mitt Romney was ready to engage when Occupy protesters disrupted his rally for the second night in a row.
As chants of "Live Free or Die, Always Occupy" broke out in a familiar refrain, and police closed in, Romney did something few in the hall expected, or had seen before. He told one protester to stop shouting and ask a real question.
"How about instead of shouting, why don't you say what you think, say your view. What’s your view madam, what do you think?" Romney asked.
While the question was unclear - the protester was deep in the crowd - Romney's answer unambiguously laid the elevated role of money in presidential politics squarely at the feet of President Obama.
"The answer is, this president is spending money and has spent money, we have had over the history of this country a public funding plan for our presidents, and you know what? This president has been the first one to throw aside the public funding program to break all those barriers and to spend massively more than any president in history," Romney said. "This country is too important to hand over to President Obama for a second term."
In 2008, then candidate Obama chose to forgo matching public financing for his campaign, and ultimately spent a record $747 million dollars pursuing the White House - a controversial decision at the time. Romney had spent $17.6 million dollars this election cycle through the end of September, according to the latest filing data available.
With the crowd energized, the frontrunner Romney closed out his stump speech by urging the supporters to vote in tomorrow's primary, telling them "you're going to make a big statement tomorrow."