Romney son stumps for Dad in Jefferson County

My Dad can fix things’
The Colorado Statesman

GOLDEN — A couple hours after President Barack Obama rallied thousands of supporters in nearby Lion’s Park on Thursday, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s son Josh told a smaller group gathered in the shadow of a campaign bus on a street corner that they were invited to his father’s inauguration after he wins the election in November.

The race, the younger Romney said, won’t come down to the kind of soaring rhetoric and big dreams stoked by the first Obama campaign, but instead will hinge on the cold, hard facts of the economy and his father’s reputation for fixing things.

Josh Romney tells a crowd of supporters that his father, Mitt Romney, “has the know-how to get this economy going again” at a rally on Sept. 18 in Golden. The younger Romney appeared at several stops on a five-day, statewide tour by the presidential campaign’s bus.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

“When you put what’s happened over the last four years in perspective, there’s 22 million Americans right now who are either unemployed or underemployed,” Romney told several dozen supporters, who stood alongside the historic Old Capitol Grill in downtown Golden. “How many stadiums would that fill — 22 million Americans. These are real lives at stake, real hearts being broken.”

In the face of that kind of economic suffering, Romney said, his father’s business experience offers voters a clear choice.

“Think about what we need in Washington — someone who has the know-how to get this economy going again,” he said.

It wasn’t about the candidate, Romney said, but about the changes he could bring to a country that sorely needs some help.

“My dad does not need this for his ego. He doesn’t need to do this for himself. He recognizes that he can have a great influence on this country, on people in this country who need his help, the people who are suffering the most in this Obama economy,” the younger Romney told cheering supporters.

The stop in Golden was one of dozens across the state on a five-day tour that featured Josh Romney — third-oldest of five Romney brothers — along with former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez and Attorney General John Suthers at some stops.

Later that afternoon, the Romney campaign announced that the presidential candidate would hold a rally on Sunday at the Pueblo airport, but that event was cancelled hours before its scheduled start after the fatal crash of an experimental airplane that killed its pilot. Romney’s last appearance in Colorado was more than a month ago when he spoke at a rally at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Attorney General John Suthers says that President Barack Obama has “a tough sell” in Colorado at a Sept. 18 rally for GOP candidate Mitt Romney on a sidewalk in Golden. Obama spoke hours earlier to a crowd estimated at 8,400 in a nearby park.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Suthers told the crowd gathered in Golden that Obama’s more regular visits to Colorado — his rally in Golden that day marked his ninth trip to the state this year — demonstrated that the president was running scared in a state he won with 55 percent of the vote in 2008.

“Why does he keep coming back? It’s because he’s got a tough sell,” Suthers said. “He’s got to convince these people that hope and change are working.”

Josh Romney sounded the same note.

“A lot of people, when they voted for President Obama, had big expectations, they had hope,” he said to reporters after speaking to the crowd of supporters. “If you look at where we are today… the policies that President Obama has put in place have not worked. The policies my dad has, of making sure people have an equal opportunity, but not necessarily an equal outcome — that we all are allowed to pursue our own path and direction — that’s what the American Dream is all about.”

Asked what he would tell an undecided voter in Colorado — a vanishingly small slice of the electorate, according to polls that show the race almost evenly divided — Romney said the two campaigns offer a stark contrast.

“If you’re better off today than you were four years ago, you should look at President Obama,” he said. “But if you feel we’re headed the wrong direction and we’re not better off, then my dad’s the guy who understands the economy, has lived in the economy, he’s been successful — he’s proud of that — and he’s the guy who knows what it’s going to take to get the economy turned around and rolling again.”

On a day when criticism was still lingering over his father’s reaction to attacks on American diplomats, Romney defended his father’s initial statement, which said it was “disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

“I know from my perspective he said what he felt, said how he read the situation, stands by it,” Romney said. “He recognizes that Obama does not have a clear message in terms of foreign policy. And my dad will contrast that with how he’ll act as president, and he’ll make sure that countries all around the world recognize where America stands, recognize what the ramifications will be if certain circumstances happen. I think the frustration is that we don’t know what the Obama foreign policy is.”

Jefferson County GOP chairman Don Ytterberg said that his county was bursting with energy for Romney, as evidenced by the difficulty campaign headquarters has keeping yard signs in stock.

“There is no amount of material that we can get from the Romney-Ryan campaign that we can keep on the shelves,” he said. “If we get a shipment, it’s gone in probably two days.”

As for the Romney campaign’s bus tour — after its next stop in Boulder, the itinerary headed south to El Paso and Teller counties and the San Luis Valley before driving into the mountains, eventually returning to the metro area on Sunday — Ytterberg said he was glad it was making stops in Jefferson County to counter Obama’s rally.

“We’re here this afternoon to provide the alternative to the failed agenda,” he said. “The president’s got his hands full in Colorado because his agenda has not worked and people know it. They are now turning out and they are vocally opposing what he is trying to present to America.”

Noting that he had just eaten lunch with Josh Romney at a nearby sandwich shop, Ytterberg said their conversation had impressed him all the more about the elder Romney’s qualifications to be president.

“We had a wonderful discussion about the need for moral leadership,” he said, including an exchange about a quotation by Thomas Jefferson to the effect that “the Constitution was suitable only for a moral and religious people, it has purpose to no other.”

Romney, he said, clearly understood the implications.

“His family is genuinely concerned for the country, and it was clear in his conversation with me that he really was embracing the campaign not just to represent his father but to represent the ideals to the United States.”

Ernest@coloradostatesman.com