Romney's colorful Puerto Rican trip
March 17th, 2012
02:57 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney's colorful Puerto Rican trip

Bayamon, Puerto Rico (CNN) - Mitt Romney sounded an optimistic note Saturday as he wrapped up a quick but colorful campaign swing through Puerto Rico.

His day-long trip to the U.S. territory took the candidate to a boisterous political rally and shopping for tropical fruit at a local market.

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Asked by a reporter about his chances in Sunday’s primary, Romney cited the Friday evening rally - which most closely resembled a rock concert - saying it "couldn't have been more fun and more encouraging" and made him "cautiously optimistic that we’re going to do well in Puerto Rico."

The rally, held in Old San Juan, featured hours of upbeat music and dancing (including energetic on-stage shimmying by a raft of local politicians) and built up to Romney's keynote speech.

"What a beautiful island. What a beautiful place," exclaimed Romney, who did not dance but clapped to the beat as he sat on stage for almost two hours. "What a wonderful culture you enjoy. What a wonderful people you are. Citizens of this great land. Citizens of America!"

On a tour through a local market the next morning, Romney and his wife, Ann, examined avocados and papayas.

The former Massachusetts governor marveled at a local system that prints lottery numbers on receipts to encourage store owners to report sales.

Romney explained the system ensured "they'd have greater compliance and therefore didn't have to raise the tax rate."

At a stand selling baked goods, Romney's constant companion in Puerto Rico - the territory's governor Luis Fortuño - bought him some traditional birthday cookies.

Romney's wife Ann reminded the press her husband had recently turned "the big 65 right here."

Meanwhile, Romney was overheard playfully reminding his wife she had not yet given him a gift. Earlier this week Romney said a kiss from Ann was his best, and only, birthday present.

The White House hopeful heads next to Illinois, where he added campaign events Friday and Saturday. The midwestern state would be a key win for the former governor, who is locked in a battle with his chief rival, former Sen. Rick Santorum, for the Republican presidential nomination.

Romney told reporters he hoped to do well in Illinois, which votes Tuesday.

"I’m going to be there this afternoon so we’ll see," he said.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Puerto Rico
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. diridi

    no matter what, GOP is doomed to the ground. just watch on youtube, when mitt romney came to town, and the road we have traveled. you know, as to where these GOP idiots stand. Obama2012.

    March 17, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. GI Joe.

    All those wealthy old white men holding hands makes me nervous.

    March 17, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. jack878

    Romney should say he is not for statehood for Puerto Rico. In 2010 per capita income in Puerto Rico was less than $11,000 per year. We don't need more poor people who don't speak English we have way too many now.

    March 17, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. packerfans

    Vote for only Mitt Romney!!

    March 17, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Morpunkt

    Let the truth be known. The only real reason Santorum is still in the race, is due to rich Evangelicals backing him, such as the founder of the Red, White and Blue Fund, billionaire Foster Friess, of Wyoming, James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, in Colorado, Bob Vander Plaats of Iowa, etc.

    It boils down to religious bigotry against Mormonism, under the guise that Romney is "too liberal". "Too liberal" is a lot of crock. If Reagan were running today, the neocons would be accusing him of being a "RINO" too. It's now all about keeping the unorthodox Christian Mormon, Mitt, out of the race. The exit polls are proving this. These same people were doing the same shenanigans, last election in 2008, using Mike Huckabee.

    And Obama is laughing hysterically.

    March 17, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. hollaye

    ROMNEY has the leadership and executive experience to run this Country. We finally get someone that wants to run this Country for the love of freedom and democracy, Romney is the most prolific chief executive officer in the History of the World. Romney is a honorable man, a man of vision. If you do not believe this it is because you have not done your homework on Romney, he is an amazing man.

    March 17, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Larry L

    Romney loves Puerto Ricans... the pool always looks so clean after they leave one of his houses.

    March 17, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |