Romney wows supporters in Janesville
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited Janesville and spoke at Monterey Mills on Monday, June 18.
Mitt Romney speaks at Monterey Mills Monday morning.
JANESVILLE Mitt Romney came to Janesville on Monday, saying he plans to win Wisconsin in his bid to take the White House.
“You’re going to be the deciding voice” in the Nov. 6 elections, he told the crowd as he wrapped up his speech to about 700 inside the Monterey Mills factory.
The crowd gave him an enthusiastic welcome, belying the fact that Rock County has shown itself to be among the bluest in the state, preferring Tom Barrett over Gov. Scott Walker by 12 percentage points in the June 5 recall elections.
Romney said his opponent, President Barack Obama, had assumed Wisconsin would vote Democratic this year, “but you know what? We’re gonna win Wisconsin. We’re here to get the White House.”
No one heckled Romney inside, and only about 60 people outside peacefully protested his appearance.
Romney appeared relaxed and spoke smoothly to the friendly crowd. He said he is the candidate who can set America back on a course to freedom, jobs and balancing the budget.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis, attracted a group of reporters before the event began.
“I think Gov. Walker’s election (in the recall elections of June 5) tells us that it’s all over the state,” Johnson said of Republican support. “I think Mitt Romney coming here to Rock County is an expressing of his confidence in winning the state.”
Romney did not mention talk that has re-erupted in recent days about Rep. Paul Ryan joining him as the vice presidential candidate. Dan Sinykin, president and CEO of Monterey Mills, alluded to the possibility.
“Gov. Romney, we’re in Congressman Ryan’s hometown. He’s right here. If you have an announcement to make?
Applause and appreciative laughter followed.
Romney did not mention vice-presidential picks, which normally come out around the time of the party’s national convention, which is in August.
Romney stuck to his speeches of recent days, saying Obama is out of touch and that Obama’s economic policies have failed.
“My priority is putting people back to work. That’s Job 1,” Romney said.
Romney said a great job generator can be the country’s energy resources, which he defined as coal and natural gas.
Romney also said he would get rid of “this cloud that’s hanging over small business today,” which he said is keeping business owners from hiring more people.
That cloud is uncertainty over how the president’s health-care reform—Romney called it Obamacare—would affect business, Romney said.
“The whole cause of liberty and freedom,” as Romney put it, came up in several speeches at the event.
Ryan said the Nov. 6 elections are about a choice between two directions for the nation.
“What kind of country do we want to have? What kind of people do we want to be?” Ryan said.
“Free!” a man shouted.
“We want to be free, that’s right,” Ryan said as the crowd applauded.
The choice is between the “historic American idea of an opportunity society with a safety net” or “the path we are on, a society in decline, with a debt crisis on the horizon, more joblessness, a government-centered society and a government-driven economy. … We want an opportunity society. We want upward mobility. We want people to be able to reach their potential. We want a safety net that gets people back on their feet, not a hammock that lulls them into lies of complacency and dependency,” Ryan said. “We look at Europe, and we see where they’re headed, and we don’t want to go in that direction.”
Romney said a British politician recently told him that “the one thing we all fear the most is a weak America. American strength—military strength, economic strength, strength in our homes—American strength is the biggest ally peace has ever known.”
That comment elicited prolonged applause.
Monterey Mills employee Mike Rousch said he was most impressed by Romney’s pro-business stance.
“He comes across as a man who really wants to get the country going again,” Rousch said.
Michael Weber of Elkhorn said he prefers Romneys’ foreign policy, especially what Weber sees as Obama’s alienation of ally Israel.
“Obama’s not doing the country any good, and we’ve got to perform a change,” Weber said.
The event began with the National Anthem at about 9:20 a.m. Romney wrapped up his speech shortly after 10 a.m. before shaking hands and chatting with well wishers.
The Romney bus tour was scheduled to head to Iowa later in the day. Janesville was his only planned stop in Wisconsin.