DES MOINES, Iowa, Aug. 11 (UPI) — Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney got into a shouting match Thursday with a few liberal hecklers at the Iowa State Fair.
The former Massachusetts governor was the target of aggressive questioning at the beginning of a question-and-answer period following a speech, The Hill reported. The event was organized by The Des Moines (Iowa) Register and broadcast on C-SPAN.
The first two questioners asked Romney why he wouldn’t raise Social Security taxes to protect the social safety net or promise not to cut Medicare benefits.
“If you want to speak, you can speak,” Romney said. “But right now, it’s my turn.” Romney raised his voice as he argued back and forth with the questioners, The Hill said.
Romney accused his questioners of wanting to raise taxes, saying, “If you don’t like my answer, you can go vote for someone else. If you want someone who will raise taxes, you can vote for Barack Obama.”
He also defended corporations, saying, “Corporations are people, my friend!”
Romney responded to questions about a report that Massachusetts touted tax increases when it was trying to get Standard & Poor’s to raise the state’s credit rating when he was governor.
“We had banks that classified themselves as real estate companies to get tax breaks,” he said, adding he was open to closing loopholes, not raising taxes.
A Republican debate was scheduled Thursday in Iowa. The state’s caucuses are set for Feb. 6.