Romney: This Time It’s Personal

By Ed O'Keefe

Jan 11, 2008 3:04pm

ABC News’ Matt Stuart Reports: Mitt Romney is refocusing his campaign on his Michigan roots now that he has staked his campaign on a strong showing here on Tuesday.

With just five days left before the primary, the former Massachusetts governor released a new television ad which reiterates he "grew up in Michigan when Michigan was the pride of America."

Speaking before a crowd of 100 Michiganders (as Romney likes to be called) in Warren on Friday,  Romney said three times that Michigan was "personal to (him)."

"Met my girlfriend here," Romney said in reference to his wife Ann, "We’re still going steady. My mom and dad are buried here. My dad served as governor here. I care very deeply about the state of Michigan."

Romney, who officially announced his presidential campaign at the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan last year, was born and raised in Michigan before working in Boston during his adult life.

"Have you ever noticed that the trees are just the right height, the people speak with no accent at all, and that most of the cars on the street are made in American?" Romney asked Friday.

But much of Romney’s 12-minute speech focused not on roots but the "one state recession" in Michigan and, of course, blasting Republican nomination rival John McCain.

"Even Senator McCain the other day said, speaking with straight talk, he said, you know some jobs are gone that are never coming back. I’m not willing to accept defeat like that," said Romney, later adding, "Now everybody’s interested of course because they’re running for president. But what’d they do when they were in the Senate or the House for 20 years?"

Romney claims he’s solely focusing on Michigan, insisting, "Well, some people might say, ‘Gosh, that’s awfully Michigan centric. Is this the only state you care about?’ Of course not. But Michigan is in some respects like the canary in the mine shaft. . . It’s not just gonna be confined to Michigan. I think some politicians think, ‘Oh, too bad for Michigan.’ But recognize what happens in Michigan will happen to the rest of this country." 

Romney was careful not to alienate any Michigan voters in any part of the state.

When an audience member shouted "Go Blue," Romney replied, "I gotta be go blue and go green," referencing the colors of the University of Michigan and Michigan State.

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