By Justin Sink - 05/01/12 06:38 PM EDT
Mitt Romney was heckled Tuesday at a New York City event marking the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.
Romney was campaigning with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at an event at the firehouse where the city of New York set up its first response center in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
But Romney's remarks on the street outside the firehouse were overshadowed by a female heckler, who repeatedly screamed, "Mitt Romney is a racist!" as the presumptive Republican candidate gave brief remarks and took questions. While never explicitly acknowledged by Romney, the protester was clearly audible on television broadcasts of the event, and the former governor spoke for just around five minutes before hurrying into a nearby SUV.
The governor left so quickly that Giuliani stuck around to field more questions — prompting Romney to dart back and thank him for his support.
"I didn't realize you were still here," Romney said with a laugh, shaking the hand of his former rival.
The scene encapsulated many of the difficulties Romney has faced in recent days as the president has worked to play up the achievement of finding and killing the terrorist leader. Again Tuesday afternoon, Romney said that the president deserved credit for authorizing the raid.
"This of course is on the anniversary of the day when Osama bin Laden finally was taken out and we respect and admire the many people who were a part of that," Romney said.
But Romney reiterated his earlier argument that suggesting he would not have done the same was "an inappropriate use of the very important event that brought America together."
Giuliani echoed that sentiment in his comments after Romney left the station.
"I wish he wouldn't use it as a source of negative campaigning," Giuliani says. "I think that's a big mistake. And I think he's mischaracterizing what Mitt Romney said."
The Obama campaign has pointed out that in 2007, Romney said "it's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
Romney was asked about the Obama campaign's charges during the question and answer period, but partially sidestepped, focusing instead on his previous critique of Obama openly acknowledging that he would travel into Pakistan, if necessary, to capture Bin Laden.
Romney said that, like then-Sen. Joe Biden during the 2008, he objected to Obama openly declaring he would cross the border into Pakistan.
"It was naïve of the president to announce he would go into Pakistan," Romney said. Romney went on to say "many people" at that time shared that view and that while "we reserve the right to go where we feel is appropriate" to capture terrorist leaders, he didn't believe it was well-advised to advertise that fact.