May 16th, 2012
06:22 PM ET

Romney aides, Secret Service block press from event rope line

The Romney campaign is calling it “an error” – but earlier today press aides for the Romney campaign and a Secret Service agent were trying to physically stop reporters from questioning Romney as he worked a rope line in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

In a video shot by CNN you can hear Romney press aide Kristen Warren saying "We're not going to do this," as she stands in the way of New York Times correspondent Michael Barbaro, Los Angeles Times correspondent Maeve Reston, and Politico reporter Ginger Gibson.

Romney’s traveling press secretary Rick Gorka told CNN that Romney was trying to talk to voters, and later the Secret Service agent told reporters to move away from the rope line. Agents don’t typically prevent reporters from working along the rope line but they do regulate the flow of journalists.

Reporters eventually got close enough to shout some questions that Romney ignored.

Leading up to the event reporters were tweeting their frustration after being told there would be no time for questions. AP reporter Kasie Hunt tweeted that a Romney spokesman told the press corps there would be no questions and that the candidate was holding an “off the record meeting with ‘middle class families.’”

Hunt tweeted that a reporter nearby asked “Isn’t that our decision?”

Afterwards, on a flight from Tampa to Miami, Romney chatted with the press and said the rope line incident was not his doing, he was “just watching.”

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul described the events as "an error on the part of the campaign staff and volunteers."

"We have reminded them that press is allowed on the rope line to record the governor's interactions with voters," Saul said in an email.

Secret Service spokesman Max Milien explained in a statement the service "does not restrict the movement of the press into general public areas or their movement within these areas."

CNN's Jim Acosta and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 Campaign • Media • Mitt Romney • Politics
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