Randomly chosen or familiar faces? Romney takes questions from backers

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks as Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., listens during a campaign stop at Saint Anselm College on August 20, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks as Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., listens during a campaign stop at Saint Anselm College on August 20, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

(CBS News) Mitt Romney held the 100th town meeting of his campaign Monday in Manchester, N.H. - the same town where he held his very first last year. He has often remarked to reporters that he truly enjoys hosting such campaign events, feeding off of the energy and spontaneity provided by his questioners.

However, today, it seemed that spontaneity was not quite as omnipresent.

While the top of the event, attended by an estimated 3,000 people, mostly focused on the economy, two questions at the end were about foreign policy, a topic that he and his running mate, Paul Ryan, also present today, have little hands-on experience with during their political careers.

The queries were about Afghanistan and Israel, asking what a Romney-Ryan administration would do to achieve American pursuits in both. Romney took the opportunity in his answers to criticize President Obama for failed leadership abroad, and offered that he would be a much stronger and transparent leader.

The audience members who asked the questions, however, were not strangers.

The Afghanistan question came from New Hampshire state senator Jack Barnes, 80, who is serving his 16th year in the state Senate and was among the first in the state's legislature to endorse Romney last year. His question was followed by one regarding Israel, posed by prominent New Hampshire Tea Party activist Jennifer Horn. Horn is a former congressional candidate in the state, and was heavily involved in the Republican primary process, hosting town meetings featuring many of the candidates though her "We the People" forum group.

Neither Barnes nor Horn identified themselves by name upon taking the microphone, but it seems likely that Romney knew who they were when taking their questions. When Romney answered Barnes' question, he thanked him for his military service, prefacing it with "you know I've said this to you before." After Horn endorsed Romney in December, she has stumped solo and alongside him at multiple campaign-sponsored events.

The Romney campaign did not comment when CBS News asked for reaction.

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