OKLAHOMA CITY – Stumping today at a GOP 2012 Victory Rally, Mitt Romney got a standing ovation from the crowd as he told them to repeat their performance during the last election, when every county in the state voted for the Republican ticket.
“I want you to know we’re optimistic,” Romney said during his first visit to the Sooner State since announcing his candidacy last year.”If we can get the spirit of Oklahoma to spread across the entire nation, and win every county, that would be awful darn good.”
All 77 counties in Oklahoma voted for the McCain-Palin ticket in the 2008 election.
“I don’t know how you guys did it,” Romney said, “but I’m glad you did.
“That was a big statement to become the reddest state in American and have every county support the Republican ticket,” he said. “You guys are smarter than the rest of the country, I’m afraid.
“There were some people like right here in Oklahoma who said wait a second, what if you chose someone as president who has no experience?” Romney, 64, said. “Now we know, not a very good thing, is it?”
Romney got a warm reception from the crowd indoors, which frequently broke into applause, as he declared that Obama would be a one-term president.
“I happen to think we’re going to be highly united as a party,” he said. “I think the reason for that is that Barack Obama … has brought together the conservative movement in a way nobody would have imagined. He was once a community organizer and he’s proving he can do it again. I don’t think this was the community he was hoping to organize. But he sure has motivated us.”
Talking about trade and business models, Romney referenced Fisker Automotive, a company the federal government gave a $529 million loan and is now assembling its first line of cars in Finland. “I believe in free enterprise, not in crony capitalism,” Romney said.
Romney took a few questions from the crowd about his tax plan – he said he’d remove the burden on the middle class – and about his views on gun control, to which he responded he supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
While the reception inside was positive – one supporter who came to shake hands with Romney assured him he could beat fellow GOP candidate Herman Cain and told him “not to worry” – protestors did picket outside the event, holding signs accusing Romney of being a flip-flopper.
The event, attended by more than 150 people, cost a little more than $20 to attend. Romney also attended a private fundraiser in Oklahoma City this morning.