After debate, Romney dodges Perry questions and focuses on Michigan roots
November 10th, 2011
05:16 PM ET
2 years ago

After debate, Romney dodges Perry questions and focuses on Michigan roots

Troy, Michigan (CNN) – Mitt Romney avoided questions Thursday about Rick Perry's now infamous mental lapse in the previous night's debate, instead focusing on his Michigan roots in a play for voters in a state that will be both a primary and general election battleground.

As the former Massachusetts governor worked the crowd after a rally inside a Polish Cultural Center in the Detroit suburb of Troy, he repeatedly declined to weigh in on Perry, who awkwardly failed to remember the third of the three federal agencies he would eliminate as president.

In the end, "Oops" was all Perry could muster.

"I was very pleased with the debate," Romney said. "I got most of my points across pretty well and that's what I've got to do… I've got to worry about me more than anybody else."

Romney said he had no plans to watch the "Late Show with David Letterman," where Perry will appear to deliver the Top Ten list in an effort to put a human face on the gaffe.

"I don't know where I'm going to be tonight," he said, though it was not clear if he knew Perry was going on the show. "Let's see, I may be able to, although it's usually … No, I'd better not play favorites on late night TV."

Romney's was trying to not to overshadow his message of the day: how much he loves Michigan, the state where he has born.

The campaign made sure the event was a family affair. Romney's niece, a local named Ronna Romney McDaniel, helped introduce her famous uncle.

Soon after, Ann Romney took a moment to remind the audience about how she and her husband shared roots in The Wolverine State.

When he took to the dais at the rally, Romney asked how many people in the room remembered his father George, the former governor and presidential candidate, and his mother Lenore, a former Senate candidate.

Nearly everyone in the room raised a hand.

"I love being in Michigan," Romney said, appearing in front of an enormous "Michigan For Mitt" poster. "Everything seems right here. You know I come back to Michigan. The trees are the right height. The grass is the right color for this time of year, sort of a brownish-greenish kind of thing. It just feels right."

Romney said his love for Michigan makes him committed to repairing the state's ailing economy and an unemployment rate of 11.1%.

"It breaks my heart, I got to tell you, to see this city the way I see it now," Romney said of a drive through Detroit earlier in the day. "I know what this city can be, and was."

He made no mention of the twin bailouts offered to the automobile industry by presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, popular recovery efforts that have even received praise from the state's GOP governor.

Instead he delivered a series of familiar attacks against Obama, whom he deemed incompetent on economic matters.

"Almost everything he did made it harder to turn this economy around," Romney said.

Michigan's Republican primary is set for February 28, 2012 - earlier than most primary contests but not as early as it was during 2008 cycle, when it was slotted immediately after New Hampshire.

Romney won that contest but it was not enough to overcome Arizona Sen. John McCain in their fight for the GOP nomination.

Also see:

Perry's forget me-not-fundraising


Poll: Tight races between Obama and Romney in three swing states


Five things we learned from Wednesday's GOP debate


Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Mitt Romney
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mitt Romney, the spineless flip-flopping jelly fish, dodges questions. He is a true limp wristed republican.

    November 10, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans are willing to put the war on terrorism in the hands of this clueless professional politician?

    November 10, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans will reluctantly accept Mittens, because he typifies the elitist .2% of the republican party.

    November 10, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Mike

    How dare this clown so up in Michigan when he was aginst the auto bail out that save thousands of peoples jobs he is a big joke that dont stand chance aginst Prses .Obama in 2012

    November 10, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. Name Gayle

    Perry really should step down!he only hurts the party,and makes UT all look like ajoke. These people r trying so hard to fix r country,then u come along, looming like a fool that u r.

    November 10, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. mfhpr

    This guys is the biggest fraud I've seen in all of politics – EVER. There couldn't be a bigger phony in the land...I hope!

    November 10, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. billy

    Romney dodges questions.... what else is new? If you don't like what Romney says, just wait a day and it will change.

    November 10, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Paul Johnson

    Glad to see Mitt back in touch with his roots, and not piling on a clearly wounded Rick Perry (I feel for RIck–lots of people have brain freezes, just not as publicly). Mitt's a very able man (proven at Bain, at the Olympics and in Massachusetts). I was satisfied with Mitt's answer on accusations on flip-flopping and was glad to see him hit it head-on, like he has criticisms of his health plan and others. I'm confident he'd do much better than any other candidate on that stage currently residing 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    November 10, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. mfhpr

    If you have a chance to go to badlipreadingdotcom you have to check out the Romney video – it's hilarious because in reality he could really be saying the things they put in place of his words! He's really that clueless and empty!

    November 10, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    Been seeing lots of photo's of Willard wearing what looks to be the same blue plaid shirt ... so, to the question of the day? Does Mitt have more than just this one blue shirt? Because in this desperate need of his to be seen as "one of us", one can only hope that Romney realizes "we the little people" do know enough not to wear the same shirt day after day ... especially in public.

    November 10, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Tough USA

    Despite an utter lack of fair coverage in the mainstream media, Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues to hold his own in the race for the GOP primary. In fact, Paul may be doing even better than some are aware. According to a survey conducted by Real Clear Politics, Ron Paul is the only other GOP presidential contender besides frontrunner Mitt Romney to have a chance at defeating President Obama in a 2012 presidential race.

    The survey is significant as it uses data acquired from polls conducted by Quinnipiac, Rasmussen Reports, Democracy Corps, Associated Press, Time, PPP, NBC News, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Washington Post, Reuters, and Gallup.

    On average, Paul scores 41.5 percent support compared to Obama’s 47.6 percent.

    The results of the survey break down as follows:

    1. Obama vs. Romney: 46.0 (D) 44.3 (R) – Obama +1.7

    2. Obama vs. Paul: 47.6 (D) 41.6 (R) – Obama +6

    3. Obama vs. Cain: 48.6 (D) 41.2 (R) – Obama +7.4

    4. Obama vs. Huntsman: 45.7 (D) 37.0 (R) – Obama +8.7

    5. Obama vs. Perry: 49.6 (D) 40.4 (R) – Obama +9.3

    6. Obama vs. Gingrich: 48.7 (D) 38.0 (R) – Obama +10.7

    7. Obama vs. Bachmann: 51.8 (D) 37.6 (R) – Obama +14.2

    November 10, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. Tough USA

    Ron Paul 2012.

    November 10, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. Tough USA

    Flip Flop Flip Flop. Obama will love MITT...

    November 10, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. roro

    I don't think the people of Michigan are too happy with Willard. He was, and still is, against the auto industry bailout. Doesn't he realize that the money is being paid back, and that it saved 1.4 million jobs, mostly in that state – his state? If I were from Michigan, I would certainly not vote for him. But wait a few days, and he might change his mind.

    November 10, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. Dee

    This panel of candidates seems as if they are afraid to disagree with each other I thought they were running against each other and the President. They all are trying to play it safe and not hurt each others feelings they look like whimps instead of Presidential candidates.

    They need to be reminded that only one of them can represent the GOP party.

    November 10, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Governer, the American people are tired of the neo-con extremism of today's Republican Party. There is no way on this earth that the American people will elect someone who has signed the Norquist pledge. Someone who answers to an "anonymous person", instead of the will of the American people. Unfortunately for you, you have already signed the pledge and are proud of it. More and more Americans are discovering that the flavor of neo-con politics is distasteful. They want a Commander-In-Chief, not a Chairman-In-Chief, in the White House, sir.

    November 10, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. patrica dickeNson

    Romney is a big fool he give a lot of lip service may god help us if the republican winl

    November 10, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    I've got to worry about me more than anybody else."

    Willard finally told the truth and this is EXACTLY why WE don't want you as president. Selfish, greedy and inconsiderate. I won't even mention the incorrect grammar.

    November 10, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. NEVERMORE

    Romney wanted to let Ford and GM shudder. More jobs for China in his "free trade" illusionary world where Americans only lose jobs. Michigan, Romney's least supported state.

    November 10, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. tigerakabj

    Romney is on tape saying "Let Detroit go bankrupt." The Dems have already put out an ad with Romney saying those exact words to a tee.

    He's got alot of nerve showing his face in the state he would rather so plunged into an economic depression. It is the same the way he would let the housing market hit "rock bottom" as opposed to helping out homeowners who, through no fault of their own, were swindled by the likes of Freddie and Fannie.

    He's got not core and no heart to boot.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    November 10, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  21. Michelle

    Gov. Romney, you have the right experience and the right ideas to lead this great country forward. Please do not be affected by those lefties who attack you unfairly. Please know that there are a lot of Americans who support you. You will be a great president for our country!

    November 10, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  22. dreucalypt

    Romney may say he loves Michigan. But if he had his way two of Michigan's largest employers would be out of business.

    November 10, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  23. Will

    Just love seeing all the people rail against Romney, because they know that he will beat Obama!

    November 10, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, what has he done for MI? Did he really want to support the state? I don't think that he has because he didn't wanted to support the bankruptcy process for GM and Chrystler.

    November 10, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  25. Rich

    If i were Mitt i would stay as far away from Rick and Herm as possable.just think how Rick would do in the debate if he didn't have help from the man up above as he claims.The people in Texas must be special too...

    November 10, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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