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Like a good lawyer, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney saved his best argument for the close.
“On Nov. 6 we will come together for a better future; and on Nov. 7 I will get to work,” Romney said to an estimated crowd of 6,000 at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis this morning. More were turned away at the door or stayed outside in the cold to listen to the rally.
Romney pointed to what he characterized as failed economic policies of President Barack Obama, noting the unemployment rate released hours before his appearance had ticked up in October.
“He promised to lower unemployment to 5.2 percent and now it’s 7.9 percent,” Romney said. “That is 9 million jobs short of what he promised. Just think, unemployment is higher today than it was when the President took office.”
Romney added that his promise of change is backed by his record of achievement in business, in as governor of Massachusetts and with the 2002 Olympics. At that point the crowd erupted, demanding Romney’s brand of change.
“Do you want more of the same or do you want real change? He (Obama) offers excuses; I have a plan,” Romney said.
Romney moved on to highlight his 5-point economic plan. It focuses on energy independence, increasing trade, job retraining, ending out-of-control spending and building businesses.
“I will work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress,” he said, in a nod to bipartisanship. “I will find those who love this country more than they love politics.”
Romney said he will open more federal land leases for drilling and approve the Keystone Pipeline to meet his first objective.
He promised to open more trade avenues with Latin American nations and continue to go after what he calls China’s currency manipulation, which makes their products more attractive to buyers.
He proposes a job retraining reform act, which will offer job skills to those who feel they have been left behind in the economic downturn.
As for spending, Romney was clear: “I will not slow the rate of spending growth. I will cut non-security related spending by 5 percent immediately and take responsibility for it.”
Romney’s fifth point for economic prosperity is to remove blockades from businesses that stunt growth. This would include ending Obamacare, and reviewing all the regulations put into place by the Obama administration, then rescinding the ones he considers onerous.
Romney basked in the glow of the crowd, which alternated between chants of “four more days” and “Romney, Romney.” He especially welcomed the endorsement of Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, who referred to Coach Vince Lombardi’s book, “What it Takes to be No. 1
“This is a man of two qualities Coach Lombardi held dear: excellence and integrity,” Starr said. “My wife and I are honored to endorse Mitt Romney as that kind of man.”
Romney also acknowledged his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, as the best decision he had ever made after choosing Ann Romney as his wife.
Romney wrapped up his close with a final sales pitch, urging the crowd to get out the vote with only four days left in the campaign, saying “this is not the time for the country to settle but to have a fresh start.”
Before Romney took the stage, a who’s who of Wisconsin Republicans attacked President Obama’s policies.
Senate candidate Tommy Thompson took on the role of old-time preacher, chastising the president for saying “We belong to the government,” at the Democrat National Convention. Instead, he urged Obama to read the Constitution.
“We the people, we the people will build the shining city on the hill,” Thompson bellowed. “We will build it.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus went on the attack, too, saying Obama dismisses success while Romney embraces it.
And Gov. Scott Walker, celebrating his 45th birthday, asked the crowd to go out and help make Mitt Romney the 45th president of the United States.
“We just got the job numbers, with 7.9 percent unemployment, a slight tick up, on top of 43 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent,” Walker said. “If you have kids, especially my kids’ age (high school and college) you understand that four years from now you want your sons and daughters to have the opportunities to have a job.”
“Mitt Romney will truly get America working again and create jobs again,” Walker finished.
Romney is not scheduled to appear in Wisconsin before Tuesday’s election, but Ryan will make a final appearance in Milwaukee on Monday.
President Obama is stopping in Milwaukee on Saturday and will be in Madison on Monday.
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