Romney Targets Michigan Win for Presidential Bid

By Lee Speigel

Jan 9, 2008 6:22pm

ABC News’ John Berman Reports: Former Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., spoke at a giant phone bank in Boston, trying to give a pep talk to supporters of former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass.

He argued that this is a different type of campaign now. This isn’t about Iowa and New Hampshire: "This is a delegate count."

Talent said, "This is 1976," meaning a long GOP brawl to the convention not seen since Gerald Ford edged out the Gipper — Ronald Reagan — over three decades ago.

After defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire scrapped Romney’s early-state win strategy, his surrogates appear to be trying to steel his base of supporters for a much longer fight to the Republican convention.

Romney pulled his advertising in South Carolina and Florida today to “reallocate” resources to Michigan, and claimed he was “gonna win Michigan,” while addressing a crowd of fundraisers today in Boston.

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said today that, “Resources are being reallocated as we head into Michigan.  We are dark in other states, for the time being.”

Romney was asked about pulling his ads in SC and FL at a media avail in Grand Rapids today. Romney claimed it was decision by the media team and that he had no information on it. He also claimed it was common for ads to go up and come down.

"The decision on ads is something made by the media team from time to time and I probably have to direct you to the campaign to answer those. I don’t really go through and decide which weeks we go up anddown. As you know, it’s pretty normal to go up some weeks, down others. Obviously Michigan is going to be a heavy state for us and other states will as well. We’re not going to just be on air here. We’re going to be in other states, but as to what the schedule is for different states, you’d have to direct that to the campaign," he said.

As a crowd of fundraisers worked the phones in the dimly lit room in the Boston Convention Center, Romney spoke to them on the importance of Michigan, painting himself as the hometown boy.  “Michiganders -– and that’s what we call ourselves, by the way,” Romney claimed, after saying both he and his wife Ann were born there.

The Romney name is quite familiar in the state, as his father, George Romney, served as governor of Michigan from 1963-1969.

But the “hometown” label might be hard to claim, as he left Michigan at age 19 to attend college and never returned.  Romney, himself, clarified, “I guess I’m not qualified as a Michigander anymore. I’m a Bay Stater.”

Speaking with reporters before news of the television advertisements being pulled, Romney claimed that he wasn’t putting all his “eggs in one basket …. I’ve got more baskets, and there are more baskets down the road, and I’m campaigning in other states, but Michigan is up in a week, so, we’ll be focusing on Michigan.”

Romney might have a bit more forthcoming at his first event back in Grand Rapids, today.  Standing on a chair, Romney told an audience of several hundred, “it’s a place I’m absolutely confident that’s going to launch me on my bid to become president of the United States."

ABC News’ Matt Stuart contributed reporting.

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