Mitt Romney knew he didn’t need to sway many of the 2,000 voters in the hangar at Dubuque Regional Airport this morning.
So Romney used his campaign stop to provide ammunition to those supporters that they might convince what few undecided voters remain to vote for him.
Romney spoke for about 16 minutes to a crowd of about 2,000, promising to fix the nation’s economy, decrying what he said were President Barack Obama’s broken promises, and staking the claim that he will be a true bipartisan president and an agent for “real change.”
“I know most of you here have decided who you’re voting for in three more days,” Romney said. “But you have some neighbors that haven’t made up their minds yet. And so I want to make sure that I give you all the arguments you need to make sure that you convince some of them to come over and vote for our team.”
Romney encouraged supporters to remind undecided voters of Obama’s unkept promises. He said Obama did not keep his word on becoming a bipartisan leader, on cutting the deficit, on reducing unemployment to 5.2 percent, on reducing health insurance premiums, and saving Social Security and Medicare.
“He made a lot of promises, but those promises he couldn’t keep,” Romney said. “The difference between us: he made promises he couldn’t keep. I’m making promises I have kept and I will keep them for the American people.”
Romney then talked about his record as a businessman, how he helped save the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and his record as governor of Massachusetts.
“You can look at my record actually. You can see that in fact I was able to bring change. He talks about it, I actually helped bring it,” Romney said.
Pre-program speakers included Iowa Romney campaign manager Brian Kennedy, Dubuque County auditor candidate John Hulsizer Jr., 1st Congressional District candidate Ben Lange, auto racing legend Richard Petty and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Grassley said Romney’s record as a businessman makes him more qualified than Obama to improve the economy, preached the ideals of limited government and then married the two by resurrecting the oft-heard Republican campaign charge of “We did build it.”
“I’m glad that Governor Romney has made that statement more often than anything else about the importance of entrepreneurship. Because you know you made your business,” Grassley said.
“Governor Romney is a business person. He knows that. But somehow a community organizer doesn’t know that,” Grassley added, taking a shot at Obama’s pre-government service employment.
Grassley also hit the Obama administration on its role in the Fast & Furious investigation — which Grassley has played a major role in — and the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi.
Romney campaign senior adviser Kevin Madden said he believes Iowa, which Obama won by 9.5 points in 2008, is ripe for Romney’s picking. Recent polls continue to show the state as a toss-up.
“Right now our goal is to find our strongest areas and make sure we continue to grow our margins there and boost turnout, and then some of these areas where we believe it could be competitive and we can keep down some of their margins, essentially keep the margins close, make sure that we’re activating our supporters,” Madden said. “Iowa right now is very close. Public polls, and I think even both campaigns would tell you privately that it’s a very close race. So every ounce of effort here all the way until the polls close is going to be important.”
Revisiting his campaign’s theme of avoiding four more years like the past four years, Romney promised a brighter future.
“I have a clear and unequivocal message, and that is: America is about to come roaring back,” Romney said.