Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney campaigned before a capacity crowd in Bellevue Friday morning. He urged supporters to take their enthusiasm and use it to help him in the GOP precinct caucuses Saturday.
Romney appeared in the gym of a Bellevue community center, where he was introduced by Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. She first asked the crowd how many people had never been to a presidential caucus. About half the people in the crowd of hundreds raised their hands.
“This is your opportunity to cross that off your ‘bucket list,’” McMorris Rodgers said.
Romney followed up once he took the stage, “So I know most of you don’t know how to get to a caucus site a lot of hands went up.”
He told supporters they can find information through his website.
But Romney didn’t discuss his competitors for the GOP nomination. Instead he attacked President Obama for playing too much golf, engaging in “crony capitalism,” and creating “a European welfare society where we feel entitled to what our neighbor has.”
And he kept up the attack on China for intellectual piracy, which he also mentioned during an October visit to Microsoft. This time he pledged to protect another local company.
“Boeing, get ready, alright? China wants to start making big aircraft, commercial aircraft," Romney said. "Guess whose designs and technology they’re going to try and steal. They hacked into the computers in corporate America and computers in our governmental sites.”
The crowd was wildly receptive to Romney’s speech, interrupting him with cheers and applause.
Former GOP Senate candidate Dino Rossi is co-chair of Romney’s Washington campaign. He’s unfazed by a flap earlier this week when Romney claimed to have misunderstood a question about contraception coverage.
Romney’s competitors said he flip-flopped. But Rossi says it was probably just a product of a grueling campaign.
“Can you misspeak once in awhile? Yes you certainly can, it’s very easy to do, I’ve done it many times," Rossi said. "And so be it, people are human.”
Romney promised lower debt, lower taxes and fewer federal programs, although he did pledge to increase military spending on ships and planes.
Washington State Republican Caucus:
Copyright 2012 KUOW.