by Jamie Hale
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wooed a crowd of over 1,000 in Idaho Falls today, in a rally that comes less than a week ahead of Idaho’s Super Tuesday primary.
Romney fired up a crowd of hundreds in one gym at Skyline High School, then gave the same speech to a group of about 1,000 in another gym in the school.
The former Massachusetts Governor ran the gamut of Republican talking points, touching on energy, jobs and taxes. But his primary message was a trio of “More jobs, less debt, smaller government,” a message that resonated well with the rambunctious crowd.
Idaho Falls local Nancy Archibald said she came to the rally as a “Mitt supporter, 100 percent.” For her, the decision to nominate Romney is clear.
“I can’t think of a better person,” she said. “I don’t trust Washington [D.C.] insiders anymore.” In fact, Romney’s status as a D.C. outsider, as well as his record as a businessman, makes him the best person to help America out of an economic bind, said Archibald. As a realtor, she said she just wants people to be able to afford homes again.
Romney also touted his background in business, saying it makes him uniquely qualified to run the country. “I know how business works, I want to use that experience,” he said. “It helps to have a president that’s had a good job and I have.”
Through his promises of a strong military, lower tax rates and more jobs, he also got in a few jabs at President Barack Obama. “This president is out of ideas, he’s out of excuses and in 2012 he’ll be out of office,” said Romney. The crowd, who held signs with slogans like “Mitt’s way or the highway” and “Mitt’s bringing sexy back,” cheered at every line.
With the Super Tuesday primaries less than a week away, Romney called on supporters to get out the vote and help him win the nomination. Idaho’s Tuesday primary has 32 delegates at stake, and with a constant surge of Republican opponents stalling him at every turn, the win in Idaho is important to his campaign.
Romney has long been considered a frontrunner in the contest, but he’s had to fight back against challenger after challenger in the seemingly never-ending race for the Republican nomination.
Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and even Donald Trump all challenged Romney, but ultimately faltered against his deep pockets and perceived electability.
In recent weeks, his main challenger has been former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, but it was another opponent, libertarian candidate Ron Paul, who won January’s Idaho straw poll by a huge margin. This Tuesday, Idahoans will get a chance to throw their support behind a candidate once and for all. Romney’s supporters at the rally seemed up to the job.
“You seem more than slightly inclined to support my candidacy, is that right?” he asked one cheering mass of people. “I don’t need a lot, I just need you to go out and vote. Will you do that for me?”
Archibald said Romney already had her vote. “He’s very generous, you can tell. He’s had to work for a dollar,” she said. So what’s wrong with Obama? Archibald twisted her face in disgust and rattled off a few popular Republican buzz words for the President: marxist, socialist and communist.
In southeast Idaho, where several large businesses have recently announced layoffs, and people like a hands-off government, Romney’s rally really came down to one promise: “I will make my job making jobs for you.”
Contact Jamie at JHaleTBA@gmail.com.