BROOMALL, Pa. — It was an energized Mitt Romney who spoke to the standing-room-only crowd at a metal shop in this Philadelphia suburb.
Children stood on a scissor lift and two metal cutting tables to get a better look at Romney as he gave what has become his standard attack on President Obama’s “government-centered society.”
“This president doesn’t understand how the market works because he’s never worked in the market,” Romney said, in criticizing Obama’s decision to invest government money in renewable energy.
The stop was Romney’s first in Pennsylvania, the home state of chief rival Rick Santorum, since he won Maryland, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia in Tuesday’s primaries. In his remarks, Romney did not mention Santorum, the former senator who served two terms in both chambers of Congress for the state. Instead, Romney kept a laser focus on Obama.
“It’s time for us to stop apologizing for success in America,” Romney said to a round of cheers, whistles and a loud cry of “yeah!” from the surrounding crowd.
Supporters carried homemade signs reading “Obama Isn’t Working” and “Mitt = Jobs.” A few elderly people sat on chairs in the rear of the shop, but most of the crowd was standing. The campaign estimated 800 people were in attendance. .
“He really came alive,” said Bud McCollough, 65, a retired information technology manager. “It was an entire new energy that I saw.”
McCollough said that until the Wednesday event he was uncommitted in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary and doubtful about Romney’s ability to beat President Obama. The Pennsylvania primary will be April 24 and recent polls show Romney narrowing Santorum’s lead.
Romney’s message on jobs and the economy worked for Mary Starrs, a retail clerk from Philadelphia who said she makes little more than minimum wage, and her husband has been unemployed for three years.
“He knows his stuff on the economy,” she said. “I want to see the economy grow. I want to see expansion.”