Denver (CNN) - The morning after Mitt Romney's widely-lauded debate performance, Republican officials in Colorado showed their approval with a lengthy standing ovation during a surprise appearance by the GOP nominee.
On the heels of a flurry of positive reviews, Romney made an unscheduled stop Thursday morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Denver, where he repeated his Wednesday-night criticism of what he called President Obama's "trickle-down government."
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"Last night I thought was a great opportunity for the American people to see two very different visions for the country," Romney told the supportive audience. "And I think it was helpful to be able to describe those visions."
"I saw the president's vision as trickle-down government and I don't think that's what America believes in," Romney continued. "I see instead a prosperity that comes through freedom. We have two very different courses for America – trickle down- government or prosperity through freedom."
The GOP presidential nominee's brief remarks took the audience by surprise. Four of his sons introduced him by telling the audience they had "found a fill-in" for the fifth Romney brother.
Romney then took the stage to thunderous applause, according to pool reports.
"When I heard my boys were going to be here, I couldn't resist," he said.
The Republican candidate, who will spend the end of the week campaigning in Virginia and Florida, picked up on comments by Vice President Joe Biden earlier in the week.
"If we continue down [Obama's] path, there's no question that the middle class, which the vice president noted has been buried, will continue to be buried with higher and higher expenses for gasoline for food for utilities for health insurance," he said.
He closed his remarks with a nod to the energized audience, and sounded a note of confidence about the months ahead.
"You guys are going to have to cheer here, and then go out and knock on doors, and get people who voted for President Obama to see the light and come join our team," Romney said. "And if you do that, why, why we'll all be able to come together and have a wonderful inauguration celebration in January. So let's make sure that happens."