August 11th, 2007
01:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney pledges to bring change to Washington

Romney said he would bring change to Washington

AMES, Iowa (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sharply criticized Washington and promised to offer the nation a new direction if elected president in a speech in this college town Saturday where thousands of Republican activists descended to cast votes for their favored GOP candidate.

"We are going to send a message to the entire nation: We want to see a Washington that can finally get the job done," Romney said to a sea of political supporters wearing yellow "Team Mitt" shirts as well as other Republicans attending the Iowa GOP sanctioned straw poll.

The former governor also used the speech to hit on issues favored by the Republican base and at the same time vowed to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats.

"We want to see a Washington that will solve our immigration problems; that will open our hearts and homes to the people who really need our help," said Romney, who was flanked by his wife, Ann, and their family. "We are going to make sure we get healthcare for those who don’t have it. We are going to do a better job supporting our troops. Think of the families today that are not out here celebrating in the sun, but are instead thinking about their loved ones far away. Let's have a surge of support for those that are making such a surge of sacrifice."

He later added, "We are ready for somebody who will actually get the job done; reach across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats coming together to solve the problems America faces."

Romney was one of several GOP candidates participating in this event that is viewed as a test of organizational strength in Iowa. Romney is expected to win this contest and like his opponents set up tents outside Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State University to feed supporters, hand out campaign literature, t-shirts and stickers and allow people to step out of the blazing sun.

The candidates were also paying the $35 fee for people to cast a vote for them in the straw poll. Romney easily spent the most money and had an elaborate stage with a video screen off to the side close to the polling entrance.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, offered an air conditioned tent, a moon bounce and other activities for children, while the other candidates had smaller tents set up on the grounds.

A handful of GOP presidential hopefuls including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain and likely candidate Fred Thompson chose not to participate in this straw poll that is a major fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

Filed under: Iowa • Mitt Romney • Race to '08
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Will - Miami, Fl

    The only change this man will bring to Washinton is the change of the curtains in the White House. He's more of the same...


    August 11, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. bret, atl, ga

    Change? Exactly, how? "Double guantanomo"? "Did [we] forget 9/11"? He sounds exactly like just another big-business Cheney-clone. You're not fooling anyone, Mitt Romney. You may think you can buy the republican nomination, and you may be right, but you will never beat a democrat in the general election. Your candidacy is dead in the water. Bow out gracefully and stop wasting valuable MSM time that would be better spent on a viable candidate: Ron Paul!

    August 11, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Get your facts together, Will. You must be talking about our current Governor.


    August 11, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Jayson, Beale AFB, CA

    Ron Paul sold out to the politics of only two parties.

    Real change will never come from within the current 2 party system. Time and time again both sides have only shown themselves of working against each other, and only working together when there is something in it for them.

    August 11, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Nando

    Romney will:
    (1) not get the Republican nomination; and
    (2) will not get the V.P. nod.

    Furthermore, if, by some miracle, he were to get the nomination and become president, he would not change any of the existing policies. A vote for Willard Mitt Romney is a vote for the status quo. With his wealth and upbringing, do you really think this guy gives a rat's ass about the average American struggling to get by?

    August 11, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  6. David, Salinas, CA

    Okay, this is where I make my stand. Cnn Ticker persists in removing this post with no explanation, despite numerous emails. Will someone tell me how this violates their standards? It is composed entirely of on-topic Romney quotes. I will stop re-posting when CNN gives me an explanation.


    FYI, A few of Mitt Romney’s varied positions on Middle east policy:

    Mitt Romney on the justification for the Iraq war:

    "If you're saying let's turn back the clock, and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors, and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein, therefore, not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in. But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in." (Republican candidates' debate on June 5)

    Mitt Romney on George Bush’s Iraq policy:

    “I wouldn't presume to present a plan different from that of the President. But I believe he was right to take on the war on terror on an aggressive front rather than a defensive front. We toppled the government ... walking away would mean a humanitarian disaster. We're there and we have a responsibility to finish the job.” [O’Reilly Factor, FNC, 9/27/06]

    Mitt Romney on Hezbollah:

    ”Did you notice in Lebanon, what Hezbollah did? Lebanon became a democracy some time ago and while their government was getting underway, Hezbollah went into southern Lebanon and provided health clinics to some of the people there, and schools. And they built their support there by having done so. That kind of diplomacy is something that would help America become stronger around the world…” (CSPAN, August 2007)

    Mitt Romney on Guantanamo:

    “Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo."

    Mitt Romney on Osama bin Laden:

    "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."

    Mitt Romney on his five sons lack of military service:

    “My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers, and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard....One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”

    Mitt Romney in response to Ron Paul saying there was never a good reason to go to war with Iraq in the first place:

    “Has he forgotten about 9/11?” (August 5th Republican debate)

    August 12, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Ron Nebraska

    That's what he his saying now but should we wait awhile for another position from him?

    August 12, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |