Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King told reporters Mitt Romney will campaign in his state Tuesday, giving a “major policy speech on out-of-control spending and debt” at Drake University in Des Moines. He also announced his endorsement of Romney — something he had been expected to do before the Iowa caucuses in January.
So what took him so long? King’s endorsement carries a lot less weight now than it would have then.
“I’ve said all along I’ll be an enthusiastic supporter of our eventual nominee,” King said on a Republican National Committee conference call. “It’s clear Mitt Romney is our nominee and it will happen in Tampa. I’m predicting that that is the result and I’m an enthusiastic supporter of Mitt Romney.”
King said he will be excited to see Romney Tuesday in his state and “will continue” to work on his behalf to help him win Iowa and the election in November. King revealed just one day before the Jan. 3 caucuses he would not make an endorsement.
Despite his late endorsement, King said he is going to be “very engaged” in the debate over the debt and deficit.
The conference call starts a week-long roll out from the RNC highlighting the president’s “failure on the debt and deficit,” said the RNC’s Ryan Mahoney on the call.
Earlier Monday, the committee released a web video which includes clips of President Obama pledging to cut the nation’s deficit in half and pay it down — this while a graphic shows the deficit increasing. It ends with the words “empty promises” across the screen.
King compared America’s economic state to the economic crisis in Greece, saying the nation will be “approaching the situation Greece is in if we have a second Obama term.”
“You reach a point you can’t borrow anymore,” King said. “[We are] the largest economy and we cannot go on this trajectory.”
He said the president will continue to “double down and borrow more money and hand out more money and tell them [Americans] it’s their patriotic duty to do it.”
He called Romney a “consummate manager” and said, “No one questions his economic understanding and ability.”
Monday morning the Obama campaign did just that — releasing a television ad that called Romney a “job destroyer.” The ad tells the story of a Kansas City steel company, purchased by Bain Capital in 1993, that subsequently went bankrupt. The Romney campaign pointed out the bankruptcy and layoffs happened in 2001, two years after Romney left Bain to head the Salt Lake City Olympics.
The Obama campaign also put out a statement dissecting Romney’s time as Massachusetts governor, saying state spending rose dramatically while he was in office.
“Mitt Romney knows a lot about out-of-control spending and debt — it was his record in Massachusetts,” said spokeswoman Lis Smith in a statement. “During his four years as governor, state spending increased by 6.5 percent per year, government jobs grew six times as fast as private sector jobs, taxes and fees went up by $750 million each year, and debt increased by 16 percent. In fact, he left Massachusetts with the largest per-capita debt of any state in the country. Now he’s proposed a tax plan that would give $5 trillion in tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires without saying how he’d pay for it. That’s Mitt Romney’s real record on spending and debt and he won’t be able to rewrite it.”
On the call, King cited Supreme Court appointments as “a great motivator” for Iowans to support Romney in November, despite the bruising primary process that played out most visibly in his home state.
“It was a long, long hard-fought presidential nominating process, especially in Iowa,” King said. “And it takes a while to heal up those wounds.”
King said unification in his party is happening despite the nasty GOP primary campaign.
“There is a vast amount we agree on,” King said. “Mitt Romney embodies that, and we need to push that message out there. There is a lot at stake, and I think we will be unified.”