Idaho Falls, Idaho (CNN) - In a speech to his largest audience in recent memory Thursday, Mitt Romney pledged that he would never embarrass the American people in the White House.
That assurance - which the campaign previously deployed against Newt Gingrich in Iowa - appeared to be a veiled swipe against the Republican presidential slate at large.
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"What we need in leadership is individuals who will tell the truth and will live with integrity," Romney told the raucous audience. "I will not embarrass you in the White House."
In the run-up to Michigan's primary, Romney's chief rival, former Sen. Rick Santorum, had to massage a number of controversial statements on social issues. He said he regretted saying John F. Kennedy's defense of the separation between church and state made him want to "throw up" and provoked ire with comments about women serving in the military.
Recently Romney himself has had to clean up a series of verbal gaffes, including a flubbed response to a question about a Republican-backed congressional amendment and two casual references to his wealth that provoked his opponents' glee.
Romney's appearance in Idaho Falls was met with wild applause by the more than 2,500 people who turned out to Skyline High School to cheer on the GOP presidential candidate.
He gave speeches in each of the high school's two gyms, after the campaign set up an overflow room to accommodate the audience. The school choir and band played energetic music in the first room, where rock climbing walls rose along the wall behind the stage.
"The Grizzlies basketball games must be something in here. I'll tell ya, that kind of cheering is exciting," Romney told the raucous audience. "You seem to be more than slightly inclined to support my candidacy, is that right?"
After several appearances in which he focused largely on the economy, on Thursday Romney revived oft-repeated musings on patriotism.
He recalled working as a teenager on his uncle's Idaho ranch.
"We worked hard. But I loved the life here in Idaho. I loved the working on the ranch. I loved the people that I got to meet," Romney said, adding as a boy his father had spent time in the state as well. "He said he had potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was kind of poor at that time, but he ended up doing pretty darn well. He believed in America."
This was Romney's second visit to Idaho in as many weeks.
Idaho Falls is home to a large Mormon population. The state's primary will be held March 6.