Romney breaks laws on campaign trips

The motorcade of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney exceeded speed limits and went through stop lights Friday as local law officers escorted him, blue lights flashing, to campaign events in two South Carolina counties.

Traffic pulled over for Romney’s caravan as Saluda County Sheriff Jason Booth, a Romney supporter, led the candidate’s motor home and staff cars with his blue lights running from the Aiken County line through Saluda County to the Newberry city limits, according to an Associated Press reporter following the candidate.

The caravan traveled between 10 mph and 15 mph over posted speed limits. The posted speed limits were 45 mph and 55 mph.

“We wanted to make sure he stays safe and gets to where he’s going,” Booth told The Associated Press.

Asked whether it’s proper to use flashing police lights to escort a candidate, he said, “I’m not getting into this with you, sir. I have no comment.” Booth, a former supporter of Arizona Sen. John McCain, switched to Romney in April.

Later in the day, Romney said his campaign requests that police turn their lights on only if there’s a public safety concern.

Streets in the town of Saluda were blocked off while the motorcade passed through. The escort disregarded traffic lights on those streets and at least one traffic light in the county.

A Newberry County deputy joined the caravan at the county line and used flashing lights for several miles until reaching city limits, the reporter observed.

Newberry County Sheriff’s Maj. Todd Johnson said that deputy’s escort was unplanned. Romney’s motorcade became lost and requested help finding the campaign stop, he said.

“They didn’t know exactly where they were going,” Johnson said. “All he did was guide him to the event. He never activated blue lights other than to indicate that he would be the one leading.”

Romney had no police escort after leaving Newberry.

An off-duty Aiken County deputy had escorted Romney from his hotel room Friday morning to his event in Aiken, then to the county line, where Booth and another marked Saluda County sheriff’s car took over.

Aiken County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Michael Frank insisted his department’s deputy did not exceed the speed limit or go through red lights.

“We observe all posted speed limits and traffic signals unless it’s an emergency,” Frank said.

Romney’s campaign paid an off-duty Aiken County deputy $90 for the escort, he said.

That deputy used blue lights only while parked outside the event, not during the escort, Frank said.

He said Romney’s campaign is the first to hire the department for an escort this presidential season, but the department routinely makes off-duty deputies available for event security.

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Associated Press Writer Seanna Adcox in Columbia contributed to this report.

9 Responses to "Romney breaks laws on campaign trips"

  1. gene  September 2, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Please don’t take offense but “big f**king deal”. We have a murdering SOB for president who still has to much time left in office.

    Who cares if Romney’s mortorcade was exceeding the speed limit, unless of course they were running over people.

    From what I have heard about Romney, he makes good sense on several very important issues….but he is a repub and they scare me. Dems don’t exactly get me excited either.

    Bush idiot with his (psycho brain) and 17 months left in office, now thats something to be concerned about.

    This nation has already gone down the drain and is headed for the septic tank.

  2. VietnamVet  September 2, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Well, the whole Republican party, for the past six and a half years, have thought they were above the law, so why stop now?! It has become a hallmark of that crowd.

  3. adamrussell  September 2, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    You are allowed to ignore traffic laws when the police tell you to. It’s not just common sense, its the law.

  4. bryan mcclellan  September 2, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    What about innocent bystanders,children,elderly,and animals.Getting these pompous asses to the next bullshit venue with little regard for the publics safety proves the privileged mindset will steamroll over what they consider to be we lesser beings,and the laws they feel they are above.This attitude is pervasive in all they do,from governance to their personal lives.The most glaring example of this is residing at 1600 Penn. Ave.He who would be king,the smirk and his jackboot buddies. God forbid they would have to follow the rules like we commoners have to.The phrase royally screwed comes to mind…

  5. acf  September 3, 2007 at 1:19 am

    What about the two motorcycle officers who have been killed in the past year providing escort for George Bush, another pampered, wealthy, son of privilege?

  6. Electric Bill  September 3, 2007 at 10:13 am

    The law doesn’t apply to rich white people in Romney’s world view, or in South Carolina for that matter.

  7. JoshuasGrandma  September 4, 2007 at 9:29 am

    If this is true, it was a dangerous thing to do as those back roads from Aiken, through Saluda to Newberry are narrow, winding and often farm vehicles pull out from side roads. I hope this isn’t indicative of the thoughtless, reckless behavior we might expect from Romney and the people around him. Politicians and the people they pick as staff who don’t think seriously about the consequences of their actions, however, trivial, are very dangerous as has been proven over the last six years. We shouldn’t make the same mistake again.

  8. Richard94611  September 4, 2007 at 10:47 am

    RG94611

    Surely this news item is so trivial that it isn’t worth writing about ! The Republicans have so many dastardly planks in their platforms that almost any one of them would be far more significant.

  9. RSW  September 4, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    So they were lost and didn’t know where they were going? Hmmmm.

    Oldernwiser

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