Mitt Romney: “Coward in Chief” cancels campaign event at last minute

Mitt Romney was supposed to kick off his “jobs and economy” bus tour at a Quakertown Wawa earlier today, but he decided to skip the scheduled event. About 400 – 500 people had gathered to greet the Republican presidential candidate – but about half of those were anti-Romney. Demonstrations in opposition to Romney  were called by former Governor Ed Rendell and Fight for Philly [Editor’s Note: 6/19/2012 – While members of Fight for Philly were at the demo, the event was primarily organized by MoveOn and PA Working Families. My apologies for the inaccurate info].  Romney decided to double down on Ed Rendell’s new book title, A Nation of Wusses, and skip being confronted by demonstrators, opting instead for  lunch with Wawa executives.  But before I go much further, I’ve got to remark that it’s really ironic that Romney wanted to kick off a “jobs” tour at an establishment that offers low wage / minimum wage jobs inside a state with a Governor and legislature that is busting middle class union jobs in favor of low-wage jobs.

The scene that ensued at the Quakertown Wawa took Jay Gould’s infamous statement during the Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886  about dividing the working class and made it a reality.  The 19th century railroad owner stated “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half,” and today’s event proved that there is deep animosity between supporters of the two major political parties (there was no physical violence at today’s event).  The two prevailing theories on how to fix the economy were prevalent today.  The working class Romney supporters, which numbered around 150 to 200 people, believe the propaganda that is spewed from the Kochs and the Armeys of the world.  They believe that we need to bust private and public unions so we can be wage competitive with developing countries and that we must lower taxes on the rich.  I was beside myself listening to these talking points coming from working class people.  The opposition held two counter rallies at the scene.  One rally was hosted by Governor Ed Rendell and MC’d by Patrick Murphy.  This rally drew the Democratic party establishment.  The second rally was hosted by Fight for Philly and had working class people  speaking out against the Technocrat and his ventures with Bain Capital.

Photo by Sean Kitchen

After the Mitt Romney welcome wagon – a Cadillac Escalade placarded with investment firms and banks that support Mitt Romney and a fake dog strapped to the top of the SUV – made its appearance, the festivities began and the sparks began to fly.  The scene didn’t get tense until the Fight for Philly rally began.  The group had a few speakers talking about their struggles.  The scene remained extremely peaceful, but the intensity picked up when the Romney camp decided to come across to the other side of the field and chant over those on the microphone.  Their ignorance about the current economic situation along with their lack of compassion showed.

The first speaker – who I was able to record on video – gave a short statement about his former job as a steel worker at Fairless Works, a steel mill that was located in Levittown, Pennsylvania.  He was a third generation worker at the plant and claimed that he along with 50,000 other people, were victims of Bain Capital, who bought the business, laid off the workers and sold it for a profit.  His statement began with populist egalitarian views such as taxing the rich and feeding the poor, but as he began to talk about the investment firm, the Romney supporters began to yell about how it was the unions who destroyed this country.  They were attacking one of the only institutions that fights for middle-class wages and safe work place conditions.  The ignorance of the Romney supporters was in overdrive, especially when a drunken older man received applause for shouting borderline racist slurs about the president.  He slurs included “The Muslim Brotherhood is in the White House” and “Lock up your daughters because Sharia Law is coming to America.”  The crowd was supporting cheering the man who passed out drunk an hour before the event began.


Fairless Works employee


Romney supporters interrupting the Fight for Philly rally


After that speaker, I went into the Wawa to wait for Romney to come in.  I had my camera ready for the gaffe machine, but the Wawa manager wouldn’t allow any press inside the store.  Nor were they allowing people to have their cameras out if the presidential hopeful showed up.

Photo by Sean Kitchen

That brings me to my last point: the excuses Romney used – “security concerns” and that the “Democrats were there” – seemed to be completely fabricated.  His “excuses” were just that.  Romney didn’t want to face a group of 200 “anti-Romney” demonstrators, and his actions calls into question his character about handling opposition.  Recently, when Romney made a gaffe claiming that teachers, firefighters and police officers can be lopped as “big government,” and was questioned on it more than once, the presidential hopeful completely ignored reporters.  Romney’s arrogance towards the working class has been in full-swing this election cycle. He pretends they don’t exist, and now he took that arrogance to the next level.  He went from facing 400 to 500 demonstrators, half who were actually there to support the man, to eating lunch with regional Wawa executives – his type of people.  He went from aspiring “Commander in Chief” to the current “Coward in Chief.”

Author’s Note: To find more coverage of the Ed Rendell hosted event, please go to The Pennsylvania Progressive.  John Morgan, the editor and owner of The Pennsylvania Progressive, has video from all the speakers, which included: Eugene DePasquale, Kathy Boockvar, Rob McCord, Patrick Murphy and Ed Rendell.

PA Progressive Coverage of Rendell Event (Part 1)

PA Progressive Coverage of Rendell Event (Part 1)


Sean Kitchen is an Assistant Editor and Social Media Organizer for Raging Chicken Press. He is student at Kutztown University.



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Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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6 Comments on Mitt Romney: “Coward in Chief” cancels campaign event at last minute

  1. I was there, and gave a speech at this event Romney no showed at. We made this happen. Shows what a coward he is, and what kind of leadership he would have if he were elected. If he can’t face the heat of struggling Americans, how will he do so in a foreign country. Oh BTW, Rendell left after the news conference he had at Noon. Romney was not scheduled to arrive until 12:40. Rendell was a non issue. He did not want to face the 99%.

    • Yes, Romney was trying to control the message by blaming it on Rendell, naturally the Dems were happy to oblige his message. The truth is, their conference that was out of sight and over by noon was a non-factor. I found it equally offensive that Patrick Murphy sat by the news trucks but couldn’t be bothered by the 99% protest.

  2. While I agree for the most part with what’s written, why is it that whenever public sector employees are mentioned it’s primarily police, firemen and teachers that are noted? These are groups covered by strong unions, that’s led to appropriate compensation and protection in the past. These job categories, either through negotiation or binding arbitration, continue to generally receive good pay and job protection. Sure some in these categories have been laid off. Such actions are highly publicized when they occur, giving the impression it is far more widespread than it really is. Meanwhile, there have been tens of thousands of state & local government workers considered “management” or administrative, not covered by a union, that have been laid off in the economic downturn. These people don’t have lucrative pensions, although they may get some small benefit based on age and years of service. I rarely see or hear any outcry on behalf of these folks. In fact, they are looked down upon as “slugs” or “feeding at the taxpayer trough” instead of being considered with a degree of respect and empathy when their jobs are lost. Many slashed positions in the public sector are of an “ordinary” variety more so than within the 3 key groups mentioned above. They do the same work, and in most cases work just as hard, as their counterparts in the private sector; yet they’re looked down upon, and when they’re laid off the reaction is, “good, they should get rid of all of them.” I can’t speak for Mitt Romney, but that’s been the rhetoric coming out of most Republicans taking office over the past four years. They seem to delight in inferring that public sector workers are one step above those that collect unemployment for a living. This disdain, that has now been adopted by working class Americans that should know better, is a mystery to me, and it is entirely thanks to the hijacked Republican Party, Right-Wing radio bloviators and of course Fox News, the Holy Grail of Americans now brainwashed to believe everyone working in government is a bum. Meanwhile, of course, they themselves in their “private sector” jobs–well, their situations need to be protected, and they need to earn more money. They represent a phalanx of misplaced logic and think Republicans are going to magically make great things happen for them while, of course, getting rid of all those bums stealing money from the taxpayers.

    • I re-read my post and realized I should have used “firefighters” in place of “firemen.” Also, “unemployment as a career” instead of “for a living.” I was unable to go back and edit my initial comment.

    • Hello dfpa,
      I completely agree with your sentiment. I used “firefighters, police and teachers” because they have been lopped as big government, especially by republicans in this race.
      We are based out of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and our state is gutting education to the bone. Along with the hundreds of teachers getting laid off, the support staff for those school districts are getting laid off. In Philadelphia, we’re seeing janitors, building engineers, maintenance workers, school nurses, school librarians and guidance counselors getting laid off and the right is labeling them as “big government”. Also in PA, we’re trying to privatize our liquor stores, which are a huge revenue generator for the state, and thousands of more union employees, who work middle class jobs, are going to get the axe so the governor’s cronies came come in. The governor also thinks those who work at the state parks are big government.
      I am a geography major, and in my field, most jobs are on the county and municipal level creating GIS databases, which is a strenuous job that not a lot of people can do. The public sector is extremely important to our economy, and it does go further than your teachers, firefighters and police officers. I guess we tend to use those examples more often because they are the most visible.

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Republicrats campaign about jobs and do nothing about high unemployment « Philly Workers' Voice Blog
  2. Republicrats Campaign About Jobs and Do Nothing About High Unemployment | | Published by Workers Action
  3. Republicrats campaign about jobs and do nothing about high unemployment « Resistance! PHL


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