On The Road

December 29th, 2011

Romney Poised for Strong Showing in Eastern Iowa

Mitt Romney’s campaign stop in North Liberty on Wednesday had the look and feel of an event for a presidential frontrunner. An enthusiastic crowd of more than 300 likely caucus goers packed into the Centro, Inc. factory to listen to the former Massachusetts governor. Only Romney and Ron Paul have been able to deliver crowds of this size on the campaign trail in Iowa.

“I thought it was great,” said attendee Sherryl Rairdin of Cedar Rapids. “I haven’t been in the deciding mode, but I could be swayed definitively by what I heard tonight. I’ve just been on the fence, but this was a pretty deciding factor.”

Romney is using several surrogates on the campaign trail to assist him. Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock joined Romney on Wednesday. However, Mitt Romney did need not look any further than his own home for perhaps his most potent ally.  His wife Ann is a tremendous asset.

Where Romney often comes across as too stiff and polished, Ann Romney capably charmed the large audience. Mixing anecdotes about the couple’s 16 grandchildren, she elicited chuckles and applause from the crowd. Mrs. Romney also made it clear that she supports her husband’s candidacy. “There’s not one day that I don’t believe what we’re doing,” she said. “There’s not one day that I don’t believe that we’re fighting for the right thing.”

Dressed in jeans and button down shirt, seemed relax and at ease for the most part. He focused his speech almost exclusively on economic issues and critiques of President Obama’s policies. “The President said he wants to fundamentally transform America. I kind of like America. I don’t want him to transform it,” Romney said.

The former Massachusetts governor was able to punctuate his comments with interesting stories and humor. He said his plan for reducing the country’s debt would include eliminating some programs that he likes. “I like the National Endowment for the Arts. I like PBS. I like Big Bird. Big Bird will still be around. There will just be advertisements every now and then on PBS,” Romney said to laughter to applause from the crowd.

“I liked it,” said Patrick Marshall of Cedar Rapids. “I’m kind of a moderate guy myself, but I like his basic American business principles and entrepreneurship and that’s really what’s going to start putting America back to work.”

Romney took several questions from the audience, with topics ranging from illegal immigration to religious liberty. There was little mention of the looming Iowa Caucus or the GOP nomination. Other than a few comments at the end, this could have easily served as a general election campaign stop.

“I believe the American people are going to do something that President Obama isn’t going to like,” Romney said. “I believe they’re going to send him back to the private sector where he deserves to go.”

The crowd was made up of Republicans from two crucial counties, Johnson and Linn. Romney won both in 2008, while finishing second overall to Mike Huckabee. An Iowa victory is not as crucial to Romney’s hopes this time, but a strong two top finish would definitely provide a boost. Judging from the crowd size and reaction in North Liberty, Romney will do well in this area again.

Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.

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