TROY, Mich. - It was a family affair at Mitt Romney’s rally today outside Detroit, where nearly a dozen members of the presidential candidate’s family came to hear him speak 6 miles from where he grew up and began life with his wife, Ann.
Leaning heavily on his personal history in Michigan, Romney began the event by listing the reasons why he loved the state before launching into his usual stump speech in which he focused on the state of the economy.
“We’re in Michigan today. I love being in Michigan,” Romney began. “You know, I come back to Michigan and the trees are the right height, the grass is the right color for this time of the year, kind of a brownish greenish sort of thing. It just feels right.”
At one point, Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, and his oldest granddaughter, Allie, joined him on the stage. Romney’s brother Scott was in the audience with his wife, and his niece, Ronna, introduced him. Ann Romney pointed out at least three of her cousins who were also in the audience. Romney’s father, George Romney, was the governor of Michigan between 1963 and 1969, during which he also ran for the White House.
“I love the lakes. I love the Great Lakes, you know,” continued Romney. “We’ve been to Massachusetts, I love the ocean too. I do love the ocean. But there’s something about lakes that something better about lakes that you don’t get salt on you after you went swimming where there is no seaweed and you don’t have to worry about things eating you in the water.”
“I don’t worry about sharks, but somehow in the back of my mind after seeing that movie “Jaws” it just makes you think, so it’s great to be … so it’s great to be in Michigan again,” said Romney.
But before long, Romney was describing how he felt while driving through Detroit earlier in the day.
“It breaks my heart to see the city the way I see it now,” said Romney. “I remember Detroit as the pride of the nation.”
“I see what’s happened and it just tears at my heart because I know what this city can be and was, because I saw it then,” he said. “And I know where this country is headed … if we take the policies we’ve seen in the last three years and continue them time and time again.”
Drawing on a quote from former Chrysler CEO and Ford President Lee Iacocca, Romney said, “Someone once said a long time ago, ‘As General Motors goes, so goes the nation. Boy, I sure hope that’s not the case.”
On the rope line following the event, Romney couldn’t avoid questions about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s flub during last night’s CNBC debate.
“I just try to do my best and don’t worry about the other guys,” said Romney.
Pushed further to say whether he felt bad for Perry, a question that was asked repeatedly, Romney stayed silent.
Then asked if he was planning on watching David Letterman tonight, where Perry is scheduled to appear, Romney stopped himself before admitting which late night show he prefers.
“I don’t know where I’m going to be,” Romney said, trying to figure out if he’d be near a television during the broadcast. “I may be able to … although I usually….”
“I better not pick favorites on late night TV,” he said.