The exchange began when the GOP presidential candidate stopped at Chez Vachon in Manchester. Romney was in the restaurant campaigning with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who officially endorsed Romney here Monday.
Romney approached Bob Garon, a gay man seated with his husband at the Chez Vachon restaurant, taking note of the man’s Vietnam Veteran hat. “Vietnam veteran!” Romney said, taking a seat at the couple’s booth.
Garon, who lives in Epsom, N.H., and was eating breakfast with his husband, turned to Romney and said: “If two men get married, apparently a veteran’s spouse would not be entitled to any burial benefits or medical benefits or anything that the serviceman has devoted his time and effort to his country, and you just don’t support equality in terms of same-sex marriage?”
“I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney said. “We apparently disagree on that.”
“It’s good to know how you feel, that you do not believe everyone is entitled to their constitutional rights,” the 63-year-old New Hampshire resident responded.
“No, actually I think at the time the Constitution was written it was pretty clear marriage was between a man and a woman,” Romney said, just as one of his campaign aides chimed in that they had “to get going” to another Fox interview.
An aide tried to remove Romney from the situation, claiming the candidate had another interview with Fox News Channel.
“Oh, I guess the question was too hot,” Garon said. Before getting up to leave the booth, Romney said he had given Garon a yes or no answer.
“No, I gave you the answer, you said you had a yes or no answer and I gave you the answer,” Romney said, turning back to face Garon.
“You did,” Garon said. “And I appreciate your answer. And you know, I also learned something, and New Hampshire is right: You have to look a man in the eye to get a good answer. And you know what, governor? Good luck…. You’re going to need it.”
Asked why he felt so strongly about Romney’s response, Garon said: “Because I’m gay, alright? And I happen to love a man just like you probably love your wife. Alright? And I think that he or she or whatever are entitled to the same rights that I have.
I fought for my country, I did my thing, and I think that my spouse should be entitled to the same entitlements as if I was married to a woman. What the hell is the difference? I was definitely offended. He doesn’t even open the door to a conversation. It’s just a boom! But I did ask him ‘yes or no,’ so I got what I asked for.”
The exchange was enough to make up Garon’s mind on how he felt about Romney.
“I was undecided,” Garon said. But now “I’m totally convinced today that he’s not going to be my president — at least in my book. At least Obama will entertain the idea. This man is ‘no way, Jose.’ Well, take that ‘no way, Jose’ back to Massachusetts.”
Garon did say there’s one aspect of Romney’s candidacy he supports. “I kind of liked his health care plan in Massachusetts,” Garon said. “Unfortunately – the press kinda bounced him around on that, and the Democrats [are] bouncing him around. But I think he did a good job in Massachusetts.”
But asked to assess Romney’s chances for the nomination, Garon said: “I did a little research on Mitt Romney and, by golly, you reporters are right. The guy ain’t going to make it. Because you can’t trust him. I just saw it in his eyes. I judge a man by his eyes.”
Garon said Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) was “the only one who tickles my fancy,” but that he’s “a little on the ‘hmmm…’ side. Come on, we all know what I mean… His age is a little on the rickety side because people think he’s a little crazy, but he’s not.” [via ABC, The Washington Post and Huffington Post]