Republican candidate Mitt Romney held a town hall meeting with Iowans Monday night by telephone, assuring one caller that if he’s the GOP’s nominee in 2012, he’ll go toe-to-toe with the president in next fall’s debates.
“I’m very confident that I will be able to stand up to Barack Obama’s — how shall I say it? — his inaccurate perceptions,” Romney said, laughing, “because President Obama really doesn’t understand the economy and these debates are going to overwhelmingly focus on the fact that his economic record has failed.”
The caller, identified by the tele-town hall’s moderator as “Jane” from western Iowa, told Romney she was a “major supporter” of his candidacy, but she asked Romney how strongly he would be able to combat “all the lies and the other things” Obama might throw Romney’s way during televised debates. (Listen to the AUDIO of the last 10 minutes of the call.)
Romney suggested he had faced “all sorts of challenge” in the 13 debates this year which have featured the Republican candidates.
“Sometimes it’s been a time where we’ve been relatively quiet and then respectful to one another,” Romney said. “Other times have been some more energized moments, I’ll call them, and I think you’ll find if you look at the folks who’ve looked at the different debates and rated the different debates that I’ve done pretty darned well. Some would say that I’ve won the great majority. Others, maybe, would disagree.”
A bit later, Romney told the Iowans on the call he might be in their “neighborhood” in the days leading up to the Caucuses, then Romney closed with this: “Thank you for the participation that exists in Iowa, on your part, to be involved in this Caucus process. You get things started in selecting our nominee. I think it was Jane that asked the question, you know, ‘Are you going to be able to go up and debate this guy, Barack Obama?’ I’m looking forward to that.”
Romney is due to arrive in Iowa late Tuesday afternoon and he’ll speak at a rally in Davenport early tomorrow evening before embarking on a bus tour of the state.