The presumed nominee for the Republican party’s presidential bid made stops in Dubuque and Davenport on Monday. Mitt Romney rolled into Davenport in a big bus late in the afternoon, to a cheering, flag-waving crowd.
“Thank you so much! It’s been so much fun to go across the country and be with Anne, and what a privilege it is to have family – yeah, you can go ahead and sit down, I’m gonna go on for about an hour and half.” The stop in Davenport was open to the public and Romney took a shot at the president’s economic record.
“This president has amassed almost as much public debt as almost all previous presidents combined! How about taking that money, and putting it on the backs of the coming generation, does that give our kids a fair shot?,” he asked and the crowd responded “NO!” This bus tour is also the unofficial Romney victory lap – now that he’s essentially sewn up the nomination, he’s rolling from rally to rally in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa.
“You see he said three years ago, three and a half years ago, that if he couldn’t turn the economy around, he’d be looking at a one-term proposition. And that’s the truth! We ought to do that!” Iowa’s economy is doing relatively well, with an unemployment rate of 5.1%, as compared to the national rate of 8.2%.
The former Massachusetts governor credited that success to the state’s Republican Governor, Terry Branstad. “Governor Branstad is doing a heck of a job making Iowa and attractive place for business, for job-creators for, innovation. This state’s on the move with new leadership.”
Romney’s tour is taking him through six swing states which all went to President Obama in 2008. After hitting the president on his economic failures, Romney talked about his ideas for turning things around.
“Let me tell you how I’m going to get us back to work again, right of the top of my list here: I want to take advantage of our energy resources in this country. We’re going to actually mine our coal and use our coal, we’re gonna use our natural gas, we’re going to use our oil, we’re going to drill for oil,” Romney explained.
But this tour is less about specifics than it is about rallying the base. The state’s G.O.P. just wrapped up a convention with lots of fireworks over Ron Paul, but not so much for Romney. So these events are aimed at the Republican core: smaller, mostly blue-collar towns with largely white populations.
And there were plenty of factory workers and retirees at the Davenport event. Romney wraps up his bus tour – at least for now – in Michigan. Like all his other stops these last few days, President Obama carried that state in the last election. But Romney’s hopeful that a unified party – and a revved up one – can help put at least a few of those critical states in his column come November.