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Romney defends debate audience for expressing views through booing, cheering

Romney specifically noted that people cheered for executions at a previous debate during a question about the Texas death penalty. “I haven’t made it my practice to listen to the cheers and the ‘boos’ and then try to correct people on their expressions of their views,” he said.

The controversial booing followed a video of a gay soldier asking the Republican presidential candidates whether they would reverse the “progress made on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” as president.

Democrats including President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Vice President Joe Biden condemned the GOP candidates for not responding or calling a halt to the booing by a mostly-Republican audience at the time.

Pelosi called it “unthinkable” and Biden said it was “reprehensible” that the crowd booed a soldier.
“We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the president of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed. We don’t believe in that,” Obama said earlier this month at an event supporting gay and lesbian rights.

Republican candidate Herman Cain suggested last weekend that the crowd might have been booing the policy that prevented gay and lesbian members of the military from serving openly, rather than the soldier.

“I don’t know when they booed and I don’t know why people booed,” Romney said. He said he could hear a lot of “applause, cheering and booing” during most debates, though he did not remember whether people booed the question or the solider.