Romney in Nashua: Hitting McCain, Touting Obama

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jan 07, 2008 12:40 PM
I'm at a Rotary Club meeting in Nashua, N.H. at the local country club, where Mitt Romney is speaking. The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem.

There's a huge media throng, Bill Sammon next to me and David Gregory listening in from the doorway (sadly, not dancing). Don't just stand there, bust a move!

Mitt was introduced as "savior" of the Utah Olympics and the "next President..ial candidate to address this meeting," and the fakeout drew a laugh.

I'm wondering if Mitt of today will be a bit more fired up than usual, after a good debate performance. A looser performance with a bit more passion would serve him well.

"Do you know how long we've been taking about illegal immigration? I went back to my campaign handouts from 1994 when I was running against

"Now there are some people talking about amnesty again for 12 million people." (The amnesty word again. Wonder if he's talking about anyone in particular?)

"Guess what? No amnesty. No special pathway, no special deal, no special privilege simply because you come here illegally."

Mitt hits McCain on opposing the Bush tax cuts. "I was surprised to hear him say this week, he'd do it again. Reagan 101: Lowering taxes gets you out of recession...and helps working families."

Killing the death tax gets the first applause of the day for policy.

Update: So far, it's pretty much list form, hitting the main issues but no soaring rhetoric. No palpable excitement, even from him, about his prospects. He's sunny but not inspiring. He has hit McCain by name at least once.

Update: He discusses his health care plan, conceding that some people think it "sounds like Democrat talk." He sorta kinda touts the fact that Cato doesn't like the plan, but argues that it's a conservative approach to health care that really helps people without leading to universal health care. The discussions is fairly wonkish and he sounds authoritative.

"There are a lot of guys who are running for president who talk about the need to make government smaller. But ask them if government grew when they were in office. If it did, mark them off your list."

"I spent my life doing what you do, I know why jobs come and why jobs go...I want to make sure trade agreements are done on a fair basis. We need to make sure we don't lose good jobs year after year to people who take advantage of us."

Update: He's piggy-backing on the Obama excitement and the Obama win, saying if we nominate a "long-term serving Senator who can talk about all he's done in Washington," Barack will do to him what he did to Clinton, Biden, and Hillary in Iowa.

Update: He related a story about speed-skater Derrick Para carrying the flag into the Olympic stadium, which got the crowd very quiet. Moving story, but a little too rehearsed in the delivery.

Update: I'm outta here for the moment, heading to Concord to check out McCain's Mo!