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Romney Talks Patriotism, Poses for Photos in Ames Campaign Stop

Frontrunner Mitt Romney, in Iowa to solidify his lead heading into the Jan. 3 caucuses, stopped at Kinzler Construction in Ames Thursday night. The event was billed by his campaign as a grassroots rally that followed earlier stops in Cedar Falls and Mason

The final push in Iowa looks to be paying off for GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney.

A crowd of more than 200 packed a warehouse at in Ames on Thursday night to hear the former Massachusetts governor speak, to shake his hand and have their picture taken with the leader in the presidential field as the Iowa Caucuses loom on Jan. 3.

Bill Burke and John Langeland, both of Ames, came to hear what Romney had to say.

"I was invited to come and I wanted to know what my fair share is," Burke said.

Langeland wanted to see what all the talk had been about.

"He might be the next president, I just wanted to see what happens," he said.

Sylva and David Williams, of Ames, used the event to solidify their Caucus vote.

"We have from now until Tuesday to make up our minds," David said. "This is the first candidate event we've come to. We're interested in all the issues."

Supporters roared and held signs high as Romney's campaign bus entered the building.

Absent from Thursday's stop in Ames was the presence of Occupy protesters, who on Wednesday .

Romney's grand entrance wasn't followed by any introduction or announcement. Instead Romney and wife, Ann, settled into what was a mostly patriotic campaign stump.

Mitt Romney even recited a verse of "America the Beautiful."

"What makes this an extraordinary land are the principles," he said of America's founding fathers. "This land of opportunity made us who we are."

Of the current economic state, Romney said bigger government and more regulations aren't needed.

"Europe isn't working for Europe," he said. "We don't want Europe here."

Barbara and Don Noid, of Marshaltown, couldn't agree more with Romney's sentiments.

"He's not a socialist," Don said, pointing out that Barbara is from England. "We're very familiar with Europe. What he says is true. Socialism destroyed their economy, we're worried that it will destroy our economy."

"We want to oust Obama," Barbara said. "He's the only candidate that stands a chance,' she said.

On Wednesday, Romney released a new YouTube video  hammering President Obama on the sluggish economy.

Romney began this week's Iowa push in Davenport, and the new campaign video features clips of then-Sen. Barack Obama speaking in Davenport four years ago, pledging to mend the ailing economy and create jobs. It's a pledge the president has not fulfilled, says the Romney video.

Other GOP candidates have surged to the lead only to fall back: Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich at various times. But Romney has consistently hovered near the top of the Iowa pack.

A CNN/Time poll released Wednesday shows Romney has regained the lead in the Iowa race. The survey of people likely to attend the Jan. 3 Iowa Caucuses pegs support for Romney at 25 percent, followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 22 percent and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in a surprise surge to third with 16 percent.

Earlier Thursday, Romney and his wife, Ann, filled J's Homestyle Cooking in Cedar Falls to overflowing. She described her husband as a family man, discussing their long relationship and children and grandchildren.

The stop, which quickly summed up his campaign's selling points in a fast, high energy event, illustrated the quick nature of this bus tour - almost the only campaigning he's done in Iowa - as a last minute push to rally Republicans to his cause.

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