DENVER (CBS4) – Before news broke that he was the second-place finisher in Colorado, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was the target of a glitter bomb.
Romney was shaking hands with supporters after a speech on Denver’s Auraria campus on Tuesday night when it happened.
“We were standing in front there and he was shaking everyone’s hand and this guy tried to throw something at him,” witness Robert Shut said.
“At that point Secret Service pulled him back,” witness Kelli Schertz said.
Members of the security team assigned to protect Romney had to pull the candidate back and grab the protestor. He was identified as Peter Lucas Smith, 20, a student at the University of Colorado Denver, which is one of the schools that are located on the Auraria campus.
Romney didn’t appear to get much or any glitter on his outfit, and Smith received a citation. He was held by police for 5 hours in handcuffs and his vehicle was searched.
“I am not sorry that this has caused some publicity and embarrassment for him; no not at all,” Smith told CBS4. “The people of Colorado are not going to stand by and watch the country be turned over into the hands of Mitt Romney.”
Smith said he supports gay rights and other issues. He’s a registered Democrat. He believes that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum deserve to be glitter bombed and can’t say that he wouldn’t do it to them as well.
Smith has a meeting with his school dean on Thursday and is due back in court on March 7. If convicted he could face up to a $999 fine or up to a year in jail.
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Kelly Schertz, one of Romney’s supporters, said the candidate shouldn’t have been a target.
“Romney is not the one that deserved it. He’s very middle of the road and one about freedoms and allowing to keep your freedoms here in America,” Schertz said. “It’s part of being an American, and that’s what he’s about.”
Denver police say the action is a threat, no matter what object or substance is thrown.
“You can say what you want to say, but you cannot physically put something on someone or assault them with something. That is not within your rights,” Sonny Jackson with Denver police said. “It can cause harm, it can do damage, no matter how simple or how miniscule something is, you do not have the right to throw it on someone.”
Jackson said there is also a major security concern.
“If this young man throws glitter on the governor and the governor is lead away in another direction, the real concern may be someone who’s waiting, knowing the governor is going to be coming in that direction,” Jackson said.
Rick Santorum, the first place finisher in Colorado’s caucus, was also glitter bombed at an event in Minnesota on Tuesday.
Other Republican candidates have been also been targeted by glitter bombs on the campaign trail in recent months.