Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is laughing off remarks by his national campaign co-chair that mocked Iowa’s role in the presidential nominating process. New Hampshire Senator and Romney backer Judd Gregg told CNN this week that he believes Iowa is a "place where they pick corn" while New Hampshire "picks presidents."
Reporters asked Romney about that remark Tuesday as Romney campaigned in Des Moines. Romney laughed, and then said: "Both states are key states in picking the president."
Polls show Romney in the lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire, although the race here is tightening. "I like the fact that the first two states to focus on the candidates get to know the candidates on a personal basis and don’t just decide based on ads but decide based on having seen us," Romney said.
Several rival campaigns made certain Iowa political reporters saw the Iowa-picks-corn statement from Romney’s national co-chair soon after it was uttered Monday. On Tuesday, Romney seemed to offer an olive branch to Iowans who might have been offended by the corn-picking comment. "I appreciate the work that’s done here in Iowa and I would not have spent as much time in this state had I not believed this was a critical part of the selection process," Romney said.
During a speech at Des Moines University on Tuesday, Romney suggested one way to make health care insurance more affordable is to loosen government regulations. Romney also supports limits on the amount people can receive when they sue a doctor or hospital for malpractice and win a settlement. "These lottery-size awards and frivolous lawsuits may enrich trial lawyers but they put a heavy burden on doctors (and) hospitals and of course through defensive medicine, they put a burden on the entire health care system," Romney said.