COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With a victory seemingly at hand in the Nevada caucuses, Mitt Romney flew here on Saturday afternoon to exhort a large crowd of supporters to help him get President Obama “out of the way.”
Romney will return to Las Vegas for a Saturday evening election party, but his focus is now on Colorado and Minnesota, which hold contests on Tuesday.
Romney came to a Colorado Springs metal fabrication plant to attack Obama’s stewardship of the economy. Romney said he was “delighted” that the economy seems to be strengthening, noting Friday’s jobs report showing an 8.3 percent unemployment rate, the lowest in three years, but said Obama deserves no credit for the improvement.
“He’s celebrating that it’s at 8.3,” Romney told a crowd of more than 700 people here. “That’s still above the emergency line of 8 percent. And, by the way, he doesn’t get credit for things getting better. I’m delighted things are getting better. But the people who deserve credit for making things better are people like Tom [owner of the metal fabrication plant] who build a place like this and employ people in this great state.”
Romney’s campaign tried to mobilize and educate its organization here, playing a short video on a jumbo white projection screen before the candidate came on stage explaining how supporters can participate in Tuesday’s Colorado caucuses.
Standing on the factory floor, with giant metal talks to his side, Romney said the Springs Fabrication facility, which employs some 160 people, was “the look of jobs.”
“Wow, what a beautiful place you live in, with the mountains right there — extraordinary place to see,” Romney said. “Actually, this is kind of beautiful, too. This is the look of jobs, you know that? And American competitiveness.”
Romney delivered a variation of his standard stump speech, which includes a reference he first began making in his Florida victory speech to Thomas Paine, one of America’s Founding Fathers who wrote “Common Sense.”
“In tough times, we look for the words of someone like Thomas Paine who is purported to have said, ‘lead, follow or get out of the way,’” Romney said. “We elected this president to lead, he chose to follow, now it’s time for him to get out of the way.”
Romney was introduced here by Sen. John Thune (S.D.), who urged Colorado Republicans to send a “loud, clear message that not only is Mitt Romney going to be the nominee of the Republican Party, but he will be the next president of the United States.”
Romney flew here Saturday morning from Las Vegas with Thune, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) and former Utah governor Mike Leavitt. Also aboard the campaign’s chartered Boeing 737 jet was one of Romney’s sons, Matt, his wife and several of their young children.
When Romney, who has 16 grandchildren, introduced the grandkids on stage, he provided the wrong age for one of them. “Grandpa doesn’t remember all the ages, you know,” he joked. “At least I remember the names!”