Mitt Romney Tells Iowans Debt is Crushing Country; Audience Says Election is About the Economy
In his first visit to the battleground state since the January caucuses, the presumptive GOP nominee tells Iowans a "prairiefire of debt is sweeping across … the nation."
As a military wife and stay-at-home mom, federal spending plays a huge role in the day-to-day life of 30-year-old Rebecca Hayes.
In fact, her family’s livelihood depends on it.
“My husband is in the military and that’s how we receive our paychecks,” Hayes said. “And it always seems like that’s the first area they cut.”
Hayes, a native of Boston, Mass., who now lives in Ames, Iowa, was among dozens of local residents who turned out to see former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines Tuesday.
This marked Romney’s first Iowa appearance since the Jan. 3 caucuses. The stop is part of a weeklong stint coordinated by Romney’s campaign and the Republican National Committee to stress “Obama’s debt, deficit and spending failures.”
And the campaign has been buoyed some good poll numbers. A new CBS News/New York Times poll gives Romney a 3 percent lead over President Obama. Sixty-two percent of registered voters in the poll cited the economy as the most important issue in the presidential election. Concern over the budget deficit ranked a distant second at 11 percent.
Romney Touts Iowa Values
As he kicked off his speech to the crowded ballroom at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, Romney complimented Iowans for their “enduring values.”
“Iowans have a collection of values that have gotten us through the hard times,” Romney said. “They’re kitchen-table values – not fancy, but enduring.”
Romney said a “prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and the nation” and each day the federal government fails to act, the closer it gets to home. He said the Obama administration is responsible for adding $5 trillion to the country’s deficit, which averages to $520,000 per American household.
Romney’s answers for curbing spending included giving less control to the federal government and reinstating it at the state level and private sector, calling the private sector the most efficient and cost-effective.
“We need to dramatically scale back the intrusiveness and size of the federal government,” Romney said.
His plans also consist of repealing Obama's federal health care program and defunding government programs that aren't working.
The Des Moines Register calls Iowa a swing state that Republican George W. Bush won in 2004, but Democrats reclaimed in 2008 with an Obama win. Although the Hawkeye State has just six Electoral College votes, both sides are working nonstop to claim them.
Romney was crowed the winner of the Iowa caucuses in the early morning hours of Jan. 4, by eight votes over Rick Santorum. But errors found during the official canvas nearly two weeks later gave the win to Santorum.
Iowans Weigh What Romney Has to Say
As a Massachusetts native, Hayes has followed Romney’s campaign closely and decided to attend the event in Des Moines after she was invited by a friend.
“I just want to hear him reiterate his platform and where he plans to take the debt and how it will affect military spending,” she said.
Ryan Hobert, originally from Waverly, said he’s always supported Romney. Hobert, 25, works at Catchfire Media in Des Moines.
Hobert said he definitely was interested to hear what Romney’s plan was to cut spending.
“Obviously spending should be decreased significantly, but it’s hard to say where because everyone wants their cut,” Hobert said.
Hobert’s already decided he’s going to support Romney this fall.
“Lots of politicians like to beat around the bush,” Hobert said. “He doesn’t.”
Rich and Renee Lange of Des Moines left Romney’s appearance satisfied. To sum up his ideas, Rich only needed one word.
“Excellent,” he said. “I think he’s gradually developing a plan (that’s applicable to Iowans), which I’ve always wanted to see him do.”
“He’s definitely focused on what he needs to do,” Renee added.
Rich, a retiree, said he likes Romney because he cuts out the “hyberbole bullcrap” used by other politicans.
“The economy is what it’s all about this election cycle,” Rich said. “I definitely think he hit the main points."