Romney kicks off N.H. bus tour
December 20th, 2011
09:08 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney kicks off N.H. bus tour

Bedford, New Hampshire (CNN) - This is how it was supposed to be.

On Tuesday, Mitt Romney stood before an audience of affirmed supporters on a blustery night in New Hampshire and delivered a sustained critique of President Obama.

The formal speech seemed designed to project an image of the candidate as the GOP's 2012 standard bearer.

Reading from two teleprompters and towering on stage above the Bedford audience, Romney presented two starkly different visions of the "soul of America" he said was at stake in the presidential contest.

"These troubled years are President Obama's legacy but not our future," he said.

The Republican painted a picture of Obama's presidency as an "entitlement society" that sought to make everyone equal but ended up squelching personal successes and discouraging individual achievement.

"We’ve learned that President Obama’s idea of bringing us together is not to lift us up but instead to use the invisible boot of government to bring us all down," Romney said.

If it had all gone completely to Romney's plan - as it never does in politics - he would have been the clear front-runner heading into the early voting contests. Instead, polls show him trailing his opponents in Iowa and South Carolina, and he is forced to campaign aggressively in New Hampshire to maintain his lead among an electorate that notoriously bucks expectations.

Speaking to the audience of supporters, Romney harked back to his decision to enter the race this summer.

Since his first speech at a picturesque farm in New Hampshire, the candidate has watched a string of opponents rise and fall in favor among GOP primary voters who do not seem ready to crown Romney the nominee.

He acknowledged the need to protect his New Hampshire stronghold in impromptu remarks following his speech, which was devoid of any mention of his Republican opponents. Romney gestured to quiet the music his staff had begun to play and made an appeal.

"Your primary's coming up real soon. And I'd like to win," he said, telling the audience he needed their help. "You guys need to get out and ask a friend or two to make sure and vote on primary day. We just can't do that all ourselves, even with our office and volunteers."

Romney stayed after the speech and shook hands with every voter who waited for him. Often at previous events a campaign aide would step in and tell the former governor they needed to get going.

In his speech, Romney promised to institute a "merit-based society" by cutting taxes and regulations, capping federal spending, repealing Obama's health insurance program and reforming Medicare.

Romney said Obama had changed John F. Kennedy's famous line from a call for individual sacrifice to asking "what can the country do for you."

And he hit the president for looking out for his "friends," including unions and energy companies such as failed solar company Solyndra.

In advance of the speech, members of Obama's re-election team held a conference call to preemptively respond to Romney.

"Only a candidate like Mitt Romney could give a speech like this with a straight face," said Obama 2012 aide Ben LaBolt. "Governor Romney claims to want to level the playing field to create opportunity, but all his policies do is stack the deck against the middle class."

Romney will travel by bus across New Hampshire through Friday. On Wednesday, he will be joined at events by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, former Gov. John Sununu and Rep. Charlie Bass.

Also see:

Bachmann: I'm not a politician, don't even know how to be one

Romney, on Letterman show, jokes about hair, Newt Gingrich

Perry: Romney and Gingrich backed the 'biggest act of theft in American history'

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Michelle

    Gov. Romney, what you said is very true. I am very concerned about our country being brought down by Obama.

    You will be a great president for America. I will vote for you passionately. Please be strong and fight against the socialist for all of us!

    December 20, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  2. Larry L

    This guy is a corporate lap-dog and to even pretend to support labor unions and the middle class is simply dishonest. Republicans have the choice between this clown and the most dishonest politician since Nixon – Newt Gingrich. The one person they had on their choice list who wasn't either too crazy or too dishonest was Huntsman – and they ignore him. As an independent this election is easy – Obama. The adult in the room.

    December 20, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  3. Keith in Austin

    Go Mitt! Our Nation is in dire need for a LEADER!

    December 20, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  4. Indy

    And he hit the president for looking out for his "friends," including unions and energy companies such as failed solar company Solyndra.

    Mitts forgot to mention Obamas best freind which is the middle class which happens to be the majority of the votes. Just cause Mitts has no freinds other then corporations and the wealthy, he doesn't have to get so jealous that Obama has real people for freinds and the largest number of freinds of any candidate.Mitts wants to help 2%of the people and Obama wants to help 98% of the people

    December 20, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. NO Response

    It's all OBAMA fault – he just doesn't understand...(you name it) and I do. Weather Vane Romnry's campaign speech.

    December 20, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  6. Gabriel Beaven

    I beginning to think you aren't even a Christian. I mean mocking Newt Gingrich, and making fun of him for his ideals and values, I mean you wouldn't even show up to the Family Thanksgiving Forum, that tells me a lot about you. I really do believe there is a key reason why liberals like you so much there is a key reason why you are getting so many endorsements and that reason is, nobody wants "real change" they want the same talk, Don't tell us what we think you might want us to hear, say whats on your mind, but there is a video out there by the Huntsman camp that says a lot about your views, how you think abortion should be legal and that we should pay for it. How you think that global warming is real and then going back and you saying that no its nothing, and the fact that you had the gull to tell Fox News anchor Bret Baer that we have to be more informed about your views. I will never support you, and if you are the nominee, well you might as well vote Barack Obama, because Mitt you talk a lot of, yeah anyways my advice to you is stop running negativity, You sure agreed with Gingrich when you said we are all for defeating Barack Obama, but you do not stick to your word, you just want to attack because in your mind you think its going to make you look good, well from this Georgia voter it doesn't and I will end up if I choose to vote, voting for Obama, if you are the nominee, because frankly Mr. Romney I do not see the difference between you and him. One last thing. Why the hell would you spend 1.8 million dollars on attack ads against Newt Gingrich. He's barely attacked you, and instead of taking the better road, or what I like to call the road less taken and not attack him, you think your so high and mighty, well your not, and for you to spend that money, sickens me to the core of my heart. You are not what I want for America if your going to attack candidates, and I am just not talking about Newt Gingrich. I am sure if Ron Paul was the front runner you would start wasting more money attacking him. The point is when your estimated at $200 Million dollars. Why should anyone give to your campaign you don't need the money. Lastly I would rather give to a candidate that needs it then some rich inconsiderate jerk like you Mr. Romney.

    December 20, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. J.V.Hodgson

    The so called troubled years were clearly a "legacy of Bush" which Obama has tried to fix during A US and global economic recession. Critique is easy what would he have done differently?
    Entitlement society, depends who you think is getting too much entitlement and for sure the rich have done extraordinarily well out of the Unfunded bush tax cuts and middle class earnings have declined while the rich soared.
    I see, the extending of unemployment benefits & lots of assistance to " small business are " " the invisible boot of government to bring us "all" down.
    His " merit based society" = cutting taxes for the rich, repealing regulations on big banks and big business, all of which most agree caused this global recession and of course repeal health care and reform medicare all of which hits only the middle class.... which party is conducting class warfare!?!?
    JFK's full sentence was joined by the conjunction" but" Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country? Put in its entirety and contextual base ( getting to the moon first) it asks for ALL country men to contribute including the rich and middle class. Not his one sided middle class takes the major burden.

    December 20, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The first president in recent history that stopped having people asking what they could do for the country was George W. Bush by cutting taxes and not telling people to volunteer to do things for the military families among other things.

    As to the "metitocracy," I don't think that cutting taxes for the wealthy and reducing support for those that aren't to get to college doesn't level the playing field. Everyone needs an education. Stopping the chance for people to get a degree or techincal knowledge doesn't help.

    December 20, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  9. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Mitt Romney stood before an audience of affirmed supporters on a blustery night in New Hampshire and delivered a sustained critique of President Obama.◄

    Does MITTens watch TV? I listen to MITTens and all of the other candidates and it seems as if they are all "scripted" and are not even aware of what's going on around them. They are almost sounding like McCain in his last days when he became repetitive and desperate!!!

    The war ended in Iraq, a better economy is steady and on the rise, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6%; Congress is running at an 11% approval rating; Osama bin Laden is DEAD; Ghadaffi[sic] is DEAD! It's as if they are totally unaware that President Obama's approval ratings are on the rise..

    If President Obama's approval ratings went up to 55% over the next few weeks, the candidates will still find FAULT with him and continue the bashing as if they don’t have cable!!! This only proves they have NOTHING to offer outside of hating!!!

    Obama 2012

    December 20, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  10. GoodGuyGary

    Why is that Obama's campaign only react to Romney's activities, but not Gingrich, Paul, Perry, ot Huntsman? Because they want to face anyone but Romney in the general election.

    December 21, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  11. Lee

    Mitt has no core convictions other than his belief that he is somehow "entitled" to be the Prez.

    Mitt's an empty (wall street) SUIT!!! (save for the perfectly coiffed hair!)

    Newt's the only choice left for real republicans –
    Anti-Romney ppl must unite!
    Mitt is slippery. He will let down and destroy the party if he's president!!!

    December 21, 2011 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  12. Reefer Power

    "Only a candidate like Mitt Romney could give a speech like this with a straight face," said Obama 2012 aide Ben LaBolt. "Governor Romney claims to want to level the playing field to create opportunity, but all his policies do is stack the deck against the middle class."


    I understand what Mr. Obama means by a stacked deck against the middle class because after $1 trillion dollars of spending, a controversial health reform initiative that took the focus away from job creation, a record of failed investments like Solyndra which lost hundreds of millions of dollars of tax payer monies, lost mid term elections, and unemployment remaining above 9.1%, some people want to assign blame to others rather than run on their own record.

    I wonder if we should still be satisfied with `change you can believe in`. Perhaps there is some new platitude we can console our selves with to assuage the pain of failed economic leadership.

    December 21, 2011 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  13. Jerry

    Mr. Romney, please go away and spend your millions that you made off the backs of thousands of workers you laid off in your corporate years.

    December 21, 2011 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  14. Namejkane

    Only idots would vote for any of these republican clowns!!

    December 21, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |