Romney rallies supporters, pledges bipartisanship
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney carries Levi Vandenberg, five months, of Dover, N.H., after he picked him up from his mother and continued to walk down a ropeline of supporterrs as he campaigns at Portsmouth International Airport, in Newington, N.H., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. He later returned the baby to his mother. Ann Romney is seen at left. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »
With just three days until the election, Mitt Romney rallied supporters yesterday morning at Portsmouth International Airport, where he urged them to drum up votes from on-the-fence neighbors and pledged to bring bipartisan leadership to the White House.
“Look, I know most of you probably decided who you’re going to vote for already,” the Republican presidential candidate told an estimated 2,000 people gathered on the tarmac on the chilly, gray morning, cheering and waving American flags and pompoms.
But, Romney said, not everyone has decided between him and President Obama. He encouraged the crowd to visit their neighbors, “maybe ones with an Obama sign in front of their home . . . and just remind them of some of the things they may have forgotten.”
Romney, who went on to attack Obama’s record and leadership, spoke for a little less than 15 minutes yesterday in his second-to-last appeal to New Hampshire voters. In a sign of how tight the race might be, the state and its four electoral votes are commanding outsized attention from both campaigns on the eve of the election.
Obama will appear in Concord this morning, rallying with former president Bill Clinton outside the State House. Romney – who embarked for other swing states after yesterday’s rally – will return to the
state tomorrow night, ending his campaign with a rally in Manchester.
Yesterday in Newington, Romney thanked the crowd for its support, saying, “New Hampshire’s going to get me the White House.”
He presented himself as more competent than Obama, who “came into office with so many promises, and he’s fallen so far short,” Romney said.
Obama “said he was going to be the post-partisan president, but he’s been the most partisan, dividing and demonizing,” Romney said. He criticized the president for saying “voting is the best revenge” – a remark Obama made when telling Ohio supporters Friday they should vote instead of booing Romney.
“Vote for revenge?” Romney said. “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country.”
Romney promised to represent “not just one party; I’ll represent one nation.” He described his “record of accomplishment,” telling the crowd that, “as you know, I started a business,” referring to private equity investment firm Bain Capital.
Romney also cited his experience running the Salt Lake City Olympics and his tenure in Massachusetts, where he had to work with a Democrat-led Legislature.
“We didn’t fight each other,” Romney said. “We came together and looked for ways to solve the problems.”
If Romney is elected – “When I’m president,” he said yesterday, eliciting applause and chants of “Three more days!” from the crowd – he said he would help small businesses grow, open new trade markets and cut federal spending.
Romney didn’t describe those proposals in detail but said Obama’s plan wouldn’t create jobs, reduce the deficit or lower health insurance costs.
If Obama is re-elected, Romney said, “you’re going to see four more years of gridlock.”
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith yesterday said that Romney “can’t be trusted to work across the aisle as president because he’s never done it before.”
“Despite his claims in the final days of this race, Romney refused to work with Democrats as governor,” Smith said in a statement issued after the rally. She said Romney “will never bring ‘real change’ – just the same failed policies that created the economic mess in the first place.”
Romney supporters interviewed at yesterday’s rally said they’re confident in the candidate’s chances Tuesday, despite close poll numbers.
“The people who want to see a change in the country are exceptionally energized,” said David Bancroft, 49, of Boston. He’s been talking to friends about the election and is “still working on one,” whom he thinks he’ll sway.
“A lot of people are unhappy” after voting for Obama, Bancroft said. “Some of them just need to be more comfortable with Mitt Romney.”
Meghan Mistretta, 39, of Hampton Falls, voted for Obama in 2008 but decided to vote for Romney out of concern for the economy.
Mistretta said she had been disappointed in Obama’s leadership. “I really expected he was going to reach across the aisle, and he really didn’t,” she said.
Glenn and Cinda Capone of Fitchburg, Mass., said the rally motivated them to encourage others to vote.
“I’m just going to say, ‘You just got to get out there,’ ” said Cinda Capone, who is 53. “I talked to my sister last night. She and her husband weren’t going to vote.”
Glenn Capone, 57, said he’s excited for Tuesday, although “it is going to be close. We know it’s going to be close.”
A full slate of Republican politicians spoke before Romney at the rally, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, U.S. Sen. John Thune from South Dakota, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, and former Missouri senator Jim Talent.
Also speaking were New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne.