PARMA, Ohio -- A clash among protesters and supporters of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney broke out today during a speech by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at Kentown Plaza in Parma.
"Pawlenty go home, Pawlenty go home," the protesters chanted when the governor took the stage before about 200 people at the campaign stop. He was joined by several local GOP officials and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Pawlenty maintained his composure. Some Romney supporters did not.
At one point, one of the protesters, Al Neal of Canton, 25, who said he was a union worker and a member of Fight for Fair Economy Ohio, was confronted by Richard Brysac, 77, of Parma.
Brysac attempted to quiet the protester by emptying a bottle of water in Neal's mouth.
"He seemed thirsty, so I tried to shove the bottle in his mouth," Brysac said. "I thought it was wrong to interfere with [Pawlenty's] freedom of speech.
"I acted out of character and I apologize if I offended anyone."
When the bottle didn't work, Brysac pulled out his handkerchief and gagged Neal.