Romney: Debt is like 'prairie fire'
May 15th, 2012
05:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney: Debt is like 'prairie fire'

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – In an appeal to middle America on Tuesday, Mitt Romney compared the national debt to a rapidly growing fire hurtling across a prairie.

The presumptive GOP nominee warned Iowa voters they cannot ignore the swelling "crisis of debt and spending that threatens what it means to be an American" during a speech at a hotel in Des Moines.

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"A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and across the nation and every day we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and the children we love," Romney said.

Though Romney gave his speech in a state where, only months ago, the Republican presidential candidates battled for the support of conservative caucus-goers, on this trip Romney made an apparent bid for independent voters in the general election battleground.

"Subprime mortgages, they came close to bringing the economy to its knees. This debt is America's Nightmare Mortgage," he said, placing blame for the debt upon both parties. "It is adjustable, no-money down, and assigned to our children. Politicians have been trying to hide the truth about this Nightmare Mortgage for years–just like liar-loans."

He continued: "The time has come for a president, a leader, who will lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno. We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can't even imagine, from foreign countries we'll never even visit. I will bring us together to put out the fire."

The presumptive GOP nominee criticized President Barack Obama for his stimulus program and his signature health care law, and called for a "simpler, smaller, smarter" federal government.

Romney nodded to his business background, and proposed moving some functions now performed by the federal government back to states or the private sector.

The speech was Romney's first appearance in Iowa since the state's first-in-the-nation caucus, where the former Massachusetts governor finished a close second to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

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Filed under: Debt • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    2 unfunded wars, unfunded Medicare Part-D, 2 unfunded tax cuts... Sorry Willard the Liar, but that sounds more like a "Bush" fire to me.

    May 15, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. cali girl

    Americans can thank the Dubya administration for the fall out. If any one person was handed a few trillions dollar loss and said make a go of it, most of us would need time.
    This is very much the same story in many American households. They know they can't pay the light bill and put food on the table too. And it takes time. Time to get back on your feet.
    Obama was handed many difficult issues: 2 wars, trillions in debt not accounted for, and having to get this country turned around for everyone.
    I shudder to think what Robmey would do to this country. Bain capital is an image I can't shake.

    May 15, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Data Driven

    This liar can't even get his own bio straight. The only business he ever "led" was Bain Capital. Bain Capital destroyed more businesses than it saved.

    May 15, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Romney says that debt is like prairie is lying.

    Who failed to act? Who stood on the sidelines playing pocket pool? Who cheered for the failure of our car industry?
    Who said "Hell No" ad nauseum? Who still hasn't lifted a finger to help in the recovery? Who's the prevarica?tor

    May 15, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Romney: Debt is like 'prairie fire'
    How hypocritical. Mitt Romney's budget proposes tax cuts that would add a trillion dollars of annual debt. Did he tell you about that? No, he didn't. All that he talks ever about are "cuts" that would balance the budget.

    Guess what? It is impossible to balance the budget on top of Romney's proposed tax cuts. He knows that. So, he will play the classic Republican hole card and blame Democrats for not cutting spending. In other words, the budget crisis does not exist until you implement the tax cuts.

    May 15, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Thomas

    Romney: Debt is like 'prairie fire'

    I don't remember Mitt campaigning on the Dept when he ran in 2008 ?

    Romney / Bush

    May 15, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Four and The Door

    He will continue: "In my years leading businesses, an Olympics and a state, I've learned one simple principle of leadership that never falters: Leaders lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending crisis."
    And Obama's philosophy of leadership? I don't think he has one other than, "Divide and conquer". Look at how well Obama has fared leading the Washington federal government and it's clear there is no leadership from the White House.

    May 15, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Donkey Party

    Oh by the way, "smaller, simpler, smarter" government? Unlike Bush's largest expansion of government in over 50 years with his "massive, complicated, moronic" creation of the DHS? You really want to go there?

    May 15, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Debt is like 'prairie fire'
    Or in Greece's case, fire and riots in the street. Look at California and Gerry Brown, now $16 BILLION in the hole after raising taxes. Result, less tax revenues and people and businesses fleeing the state, making the situation even worse.

    Democrat's simply do not have a clue about fiscal responsibility, spending limits and tax limits. They think you can just continue to spend more and more and take more and more. It DOES NOT work!!!

    May 15, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Donkey Party

    Willard the Liar offers no solutions, just tired and failed GOP talking points that would turn us into a third world country faster than you can say "vulture capitalist".

    May 15, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. John

    But what Mitt Romney didn't tell you Is that after he put the fire out ,than he tear down the Business and have they move the Business to China and everyone hear In America will lose there jobs just like how Mitt Romney got rich. Just think of how many people he has put out of work. He wasn't worry about the American People then ,and he NOT worry about the American people NOW and he does not DESERVE to be President. I mean he the cause of a lot of are Jobs top go to China.

    May 15, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Is Mitt a Git?

    Mitt, stop bragging about accomplishments that aren't true. You were never a good business leader, you lost your bid for a second term as governor and you were not elected to the senate. If you were as good as you say you are, then people would continue to hire you as their advocate and representative. The Salt Lake City Olympics are not an a accomplishment of yours because they were saved by government funding, not by your strategic brilliance. You were a corporate raider in business and you weren't a popular governor in Massachusetts. telling untruths over and over will not magically make them truths.

    May 15, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Independant Texan

    HEY !! It was Pres–( oops, V-Pres. ) Cheney who was quoted as saying during their "glory years", that deficits don`t matter.............. Was "he who knew all" wrong ?!?!?!

    May 15, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    $12 trillion of our national debt is the result of republican presidents. In addition, in the last three years of Bush, the experiment, 8 million jobs were lost. Too bad there is not a single republican who has a plan to address the debt (other than bigger tax cuts for the wealthy) or create jobs. It appears that anti abortion and tax cuts to those who don't need it is still the platform of the GOP.

    May 15, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Mike

    How can he talk about debt when his plans - cut taxes and spend more on the military - will add more than $2T to the national debt in the short term? Give me a break!

    May 15, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    For an alleged businessman, Mittens is not very bright.

    May 15, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Linda

    GOP caused the prairie fire and your support for the marvelous Ryan Plan will be this country's economic demise leaving the ELEPHANTS footprint not the DONKEYS!

    May 15, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Lionel

    Oh please, is this the etch-a-sketch that we were told is going to happen. Romney, you are so out of touch with the average American.

    You are the first presidental candidate to hold a Swiss and Cayman Island bank account to hide your money from paying taxes. You are also such a bully, we can see right through you. You will continue the tax breaks for the 1% and lay off thousands of workers.

    We are not going to buy this. America it is time to wake up or rise up to what is happening here.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    May 15, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Steve in CT

    Where were these guys when the Republicans were running up $12.6 trillion in debt? They were saying things like, "Deficits don't Matter" -Dick Cheney.

    May 15, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens wants to add an additional $2.1 trillion to our national debt with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and has adopted the Ryan economic plan that will put an additional $4 trillion on the debt.

    May 15, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    So if we are to extrapolate, then prairie fires don't matter, Regan proved that according to the GOP icon Dick Cheney. If a party continues to willfully ignore the other side of the ledger (revenue) then they are not serious about deficits.
    GOP credibility on deficits = zero.

    May 15, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    You would think that even republicans could figure out that huge cuts in spending in Europe led to their current crisis. Yet the pubes keep beating that dead horse.

    May 15, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "In my years leading businesses, an Olympics and a state, I've learned one simple principle of leadership that never falters: "

    "...government funding and teax deductions are fantastic when they lead to successes I can claim as my own, but they make me angry when they help the poor, sick, disabled and minorities."

    May 15, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. rs

    And what do Republicans do in the face of that "Prairie Fire"? Cut taxes for the rich, sign pledges to radical little men like Grover Norquist and give away more of the treasury to big oil.

    GOP- the reason America is a mess.

    May 15, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Unit34AHunter

    Romney is correct about the disease but fatally incorrect about the cure. Spending MORE on "making the world a safe place to offshore American jobs" and cutting taxes will not benefit most Americans and will not grow the US economy.

    There is only one obbjectively correct suite of solutions. (1) Eliminate Social Security Disability, (2) eliminate Medicare support for life extending treatment for terminally ill patients, and replace same with palliative or hospice care, and (3) cut defense spending from $650Bn per annum (roughly) to $200Bn per annum.

    Do that, and the US economy will thrive, jobs will return, and the US debt will be paid off in 15 years. Sustain that, and the US can amass a sufficient investable reserve to then CREATE all the social safety net plans anyone could desire in a self-funded, sustainable way.

    May 15, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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