Romney takes a victory lap in New Hampshire
June 14th, 2011
12:11 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney takes a victory lap in New Hampshire


Derry, New Hampshire (CNN)
- The day after he emerged unscathed from his first appearance in a Republican presidential debate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney embraced his frontrunner status on Tuesday, walking the streets of New Hampshire with a noticeable bounce to his step and a clear focus on November 2012.

With his Republican rivals declining to attack Romney during Monday's debate and doing little to upend his standing in the polls, Romney took a pack of reporters on an early morning victory lap through a diner in Manchester and several businesses in nearby Derry.

"I will probably be back in four years," Romney boasted to Brad Benson, the owner of Benson Lumber and Hardware in Derry. "Only this time it will be a larger group and I will probably have Secret Service."

Benson told the candidate that both he and the Boston Bruins, who just forced a crucial game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals, were the two big winners of Monday night.

"It was a good night for both of us," Romney said with a grin.

As he stopped to shake nearly every hand in sight, Romney encountered voter after voter who - either by luck or masterful advance work - complained about the stagnant economy under President Obama and called on Romney to take his business experience to Washington.

Derry resident Mary Ellen Zarba approached Romney outside the hardware store and complained that her husband has been forced to work overseas in Saudi Arabia for three years because he cannot find a job in the United States.

"That's three years of President Obama's term, and it has not worked," Romney told her. "If I am President of the United States, there will not be a day I am not getting briefed on and thinking about bringing American jobs to America."

Across the street at Derry Farm and Supply Company, the store's owners griped about the sagging business climate and lamented the empty storefronts that pepper Derry's main drag.

Co-owner Ann Evans, 61, said she was rooting for Romney.

"I did see the debate last night, and you were great," she said. "Nobody fazed you."

Romney said he was pleased his opponents trained their fire on President Obama instead of each other.

"I think people were pretty respectful of one another and we aimed our barbs at the president," he told Evans. "He is the one who is responsible for what's going on right now."

Not everybody who saw Romney campaigning on Tuesday was encouraging.

One man, rolling down Derry's main drag in a truck, shouted out the window: "Go home! Save your money!"

And a handful of restaurant-goers in Manchester and Derry seemed none too pleased to have their breakfasts interrupted by a bubbly man in jeans and a button-down shirt asking about their job security, while a platoon of reporters shoved cameras and microphones into their faces.

None of that appeared to bother Romney, who projected an air of confidence about his positioning in the race.

"Five years ago it was, 'Who the heck or you?,'" he said. "Now it's like, 'Oh yeah, I know who you are.' Either, 'I know who you are, please leave my table,' or, 'I know who you are, I'm going to vote for you.' I like the latter a lot better."

Speaking to reporters after his retail swing, Romney said he had "a good debate" but complimented his opponents on their performances as well.

And while he left the debate site at Saint Anselm College on Monday without a scratch, he predicted that his opponents would not be so easy on him in the future, particularly on the topic of the universal health care plan he developed in Massachusetts.

"I don't think there will be any questions that will be put to rest until somebody has won," he said.

"If people want to look at what happened in Massachusetts, I am not running for governor of Massachusetts," Romney said. "I am running for President of the United States. I am looking forward to the chance to debate President Obama on Obamacare."


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. vet in texas

    I watched this last night and have objectively came to this conclusion. The only candidates who could have a chance to beat Obama are Gingrich and Paul based on their true knowledge of government, unfortunately for them, they could never win the nomination. The rest really didn't say anything, had no realistic solotions, and will get punished in the fact checks. If this is the best the GOP has, they really better get ready for 2016. Debating against Obama would really expose all of them based on facts and numbers, they don't have a chance. Even if Perry and Palin join in, they still won't be able to win.

    June 14, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    How cute he loooks also. No tie and sleves roll up.

    June 14, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. The unsub

    New Hampshire is not the U.S. Did you see the make-up of the audience? This pool of clowns don't stand a chance to beat President Obama!

    June 14, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. once upon a horse

    pretty good to take a victory lap from beating up on a guy who was not there to defend himself. When Mitt takes on Obama one on one, if he gets that far, then we'll see how he can hang in there.

    June 14, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Bessy

    Let him enjoy it while he can because he doesn't have a chance with the rest of America. HE WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT.

    June 14, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Wes B.

    :::Derry resident Mary Ellen Zarba approached Romney outside the hardware store and complained that her husband has been forced to work overseas in Saudi Arabia for three years because he cannot find a job in the United States.

    "That's three years of President Obama's term, and it has not worked," Romney told her. "If I am President of the United States, there will not be a day I am not getting briefed on and thinking about bringing American jobs to America.":::
    --

    So three years ago this guy headed to Saudi Arabia to work? Let me check my calendar. OH YEAH...Obama wasn't president then! George W. Bush was. And I know this is Obama's economy NOW. But Romney and the others on stage just want to go back to doing what Bush did–give tax cuts to big businesses and the rich. But we already saw how that ran our economy into the ground.

    My apologies to Rep. Ron Paul. He actually DOES have ideas different than the others that were on the stage. And that's why he has almost no chance of being the nomination. He as IDEAS, while the others just have attacks and empty talking points.

    June 14, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Romney said he was pleased his opponents trained their fire on President Obama instead of each other.
    -----------------------–
    Americans are displeased that you ignored jobs and took turns firing at a man not there to defend himself.

    June 14, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. CarolO

    Oh Please. Romney only looks better because the others look worse.

    June 14, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. w l jones

    W hat I seen and heard from this group of candidate were a well rehearse stripe. That should being a six way Lincoln and Douglas old fashion debate.

    June 14, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. ConservaFASCISTS

    0.9% job growth in Massachusetts(47th in the nation) under Gov. Romney. How does he intend on making jobs when he did such a terrible job as governor.

    June 14, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. J

    Derry resident Mary Ellen Zarba approached Romney outside the hardware store and complained that her husband has been forced to work overseas in Saudi Arabia for three years because he cannot find a job in the United States.

    "That's three years of President Obama's term, and it has not worked," Romney told her.
    ------------------------–
    3 years ago Bush was still president, try again Mittens.

    June 14, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Bessy

    The people in America have to understand that the Republicans and big business are going to do nothing about creating jobs until AFTER the election.. They want to put Obama out of office. They want his administration to look bad. AFTER the election they will have to either sit on the pot or--- At that point they MAY cooperate with the rest of America. I'm not even about that though at this point. The Republicans WANT TO DO AWAY WITH MIDDLE AMERICA. Either accept that fact or get out and vote against them. Your choice.

    June 14, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Padraig

    I am not sure how Kerry thought he won last night. He has a lot of work to do. I liked Ron Paul and how he brought his ideas forward. Bachman was not bad either.

    Reading some of the comments, I find it very interesting that the people who support President Obama never can defend his position on anything. Instead, like the President, they only mock, ridicule, and make snide comments towards their opponents. It would be interesting if they could debate facts without going into a whirl wind expletive rantings.

    June 14, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Bessy

    Sorry ! That should have said " I'm not even sure about that though ".

    June 14, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. ConservaFASCISTS

    Throughout his 15-year career at Bain Capital, which bought, sold, and merged dozens of companies, Romney had other chances to fight to save jobs, but didn't. His ultimate responsibility was to make money for Bain's investors.

    June 14, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. A "Fire-er" Not a "Hire-er"

    The GOP is all sizzle and no SUBSTANCE. American voters fell for that in `00 & `04 with Bush. They won`t fall for it again.

    Romney sais, "There`s not a day I won`t get briefed and get up thinking about how to bring jobs back to America". Honestly, who among us is impressed by his BRIEFING and THINKING?

    Mitt has no business experience relevant to creating jobs! He got rich buy putting people at small town manufacturing companies OUT of WORK.

    June 14, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. Cosmo

    "I think people were pretty respectful of one another and we aimed our barbs at the president," he told Evans. "He is the one who is responsible for what's going on right now."

    If you stiill acept that Romney is a credible candidate after reading the above statement, you are either a relative of his or owe him money. Please stop the carousel of fools until the calendar actuall reads 2012. The American public has not done anythiing to deserve this type of spectacle.

    June 14, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Padraig

    The other interesting articles, comments, or poll (CNN) was – "Is the United States ready for a Mormon president?" I would like to know how this factor's into anything. I would think after defending President Obama for being partially African American that we got over this. How does race, color, or creed matter in a country that promotes freedom and equality for all? When I read these objections it usually from the Democratic party.

    How funny how the world has changed and what little knowledge of our nation's history that the people of this country have. President Lincoln who emanicapated the slaves was a republican. During the Civil War there were many who objected to his policies and when re-election came up the war was not going well for the Federal goverment. There was a large outcry for ending the war and yield to the Southern cause. The Democratic party choosed George McClellan who resigned his military commission after being relieved of his command from the Army of the Potomac. Well we all know or hopefully know that LIncoln won, the war thankfully was ended a few years later and slavery was abolished. What would have happened if McClellan and the Democratic party won? Probably, two countries and slavery would still exist.

    June 14, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Patrick from Minnesota

    Victory lap? What "victory" lap?

    June 14, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Michael

    Well we know that all of the Republican candidates in last night's debate can bash Obama. It was mostly a Republican Bash Obama Rally. Unfortunately, it told me nothing about the qualifications or policies of the candidates.

    June 14, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. La, La, La

    I started to watch the debate, but I could have swore they were putting a 2008 rerun. Nothing nee to the table.

    June 14, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. WatchDawg

    Not only did the other candidates shy away from Romney and other issues, Romney did absolutely nothing to further his own appeal. The debate was a sleeper.
    I was more disappointed that the moderators did not challenge the candidates to 1) stay on topic; and 2) explain how they are going to improve, ummm..say JOBs.
    If this is the best the GOP has to offer, it's President Obama in a landslide victory in 2012.

    June 14, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. WatchDawg

    Not only did the other candidates shy away from Romney and other issues, Romney did absolutely nothing to further his own appeal. The debate was a sleeper.
    I was more disappointed that the moderators did not challenge the candidates to 1) stay on topic; and 2) explain how they are going to improve, ummm..say JOBs.
    If this is the best the GOP has to offer, it's President Obama in a landslide victory in 2012.

    June 14, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Derry resident Mary Ellen Zarba approached Romney outside the hardware store and complained that her husband has been forced to work overseas in Saudi Arabia for three years because he cannot find a job in the United States.
    ----------------------
    This had to be totally staged. Here's why I say that. I'll ignore the fact that 3 years ago Obama was not even the nominee yet. When you work overseas, you will generally want to stay there a minimum of 18 months. Why is that? Because if you stay more than 18 months, then your income is non-taxable in the US. The woman was complaining about her husband working of his own free will 100% tax free. It had to be staged.

    June 14, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    "If people want to look at what happened in Massachusetts, I am not running for governor of Massachusetts," Romney said. "I am running for President of the United States. I am looking forward to the chance to debate President Obama on Obamacare."
    -------------------
    Why can't we look at your record in MA, Governer? The other Democratic governers in the northeast faired so much better than MA in jobs creation over the same time period. And why do you want to or need to debate the ACA with the president? For what? I think you really meant debate your fellow candidates over health care.

    Shouldn't you debate Obama over jobs policies? Oh, yeah. Your record as governer was dismal when it came to job creation. That topic is off-limits.

    June 14, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
1 2