Conceding nothing to his opponent in Pennsylvania, Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took the stage at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne Friday at lunch time to declare that he will win the battleground state and the White House.
Standing in front of Valley Forge Cadets sitting ramrod straight and motionless in full dress uniforms, Romney said he will restore military budgets and put the United States in a leadership role in the world "once again."
"We are a nation of patriots," Romney told several hundred cheering supporters packed into a ballroom on the VFMAC campus. "We love this country. We recognize the principles on which this nation was founded, that those principles distinguish us as an exceptional nation. We recognize that when the founders said that our rights came not from the king, not from the government, but from God, that changed everything."
The former Massachusetts governor went on to point out the sharp contrasts between his approach to governing and President Barack Obama's vision for the future.
Romney said that unlike the president, who said America should "lead from behind," he would put America back in a leadership role in the world.
Among the list of things Romney told the crowd he would do:
- Repeal Obamacare
- Not raise taxes on any income groups, including the highest earners
- Cut and cap federal spending
- Double the number of permits for drilling and mining on federal lands and waters
- Clear the way for the Keystone pipeline. ("Even if I have to build it myself")
Romney said, "I've got a plan to help free people pursue their dreams and the good news is this: It'll create 12 million jobs, putting Americans back to work again."
Romney said there are "five things that I'll do to get this economy going."
- "Take advantage of our energy, our coal, our oil, our gas, our renewables. And by the way, that's not just a slogan. I'm going to double the number of licenses we give for drilling on federal lands and federal waters," Romney told the cheering crowd.
- "I'm gonna make sure we have regulations that keep our air and our water clean, but I'm not going to have our regulators keep us from being able to use our coal. It's a resource we must be able to continue to use. And we're gonna get that pipeline from Canada if I have to build it myself."
- "I want to trade to work for us.. but when nations cheat like China cheats, I will stop it. We've gotta do that."
- "Number three, our workers need the skills to succeed, I want training programs that do that. We have 47 different federal training programs, eight different agencies, think of the overhead, the redundancy, the ineffectiveness. I want to take that money that's being spent by Washington, and I want to bundle it up and send it back to Pennsylvania and say 'you create your own programs that work best for your own people.'"
- "I want our kids to have the best education in the world," Romney told cheering supporters. "It's time for us to put our kids and their parents and the teachers first and put the unions behind," Romney said to thunderous applause.
- "Number four, to create good jobs we have to make sure that entrepreneurs know and that businesses large and small know that we are not on the road to Greece and therefore I'll cut federal spending, I'll cap it and finally get us on track to a balanced budget."
- "Number five, I want to champion small business. I want small business to have a boost from America. I want to keep our taxes down on small business. I want regulations to be updated and as small as they can be for small business. And by the way, I want to take that big cloud off of the small business world that's hanging over them. Three quarters of them say they don't want to hire more people because of this cloud. And that cloud is Obamacare. We're going to repeal it and replace it."
In drawing the sharp contrast between his view and President Obama's vision for the country, Romney said, "America has a very dramatic choice it can make. We can keep going down the road, the same road, we're on, and if we go down the road we're on, we're headed for a weaker and weaker economy with fewer people being able to get jobs. ... We're gonna see kids coming out of school not able to get the jobs they need. That's the path we're on, the path of the status quo, the path that the president's fighting for. We do not want four more years of where we've been."
Romney went on to hammer away at President Obama's foreign policy, saying that the United States cannot lead from behind. Quoting former Polish Prime Minister Lech Walesa from their recent meeting in Poland, Romney said the United States is the only superpower in the world and we must lead.
Romney declared leadership requires a strong economy that can fuel a military that the world knows is strong and that world looks at with increasing respect.
"I will strengthen America. I will make sure that America leads in our homes, in our economy, and in our military."
He wrapped up his second appearance of the day in the greater Philadelphia area by telling his supporters: "I need something from you. I need you to go out and find somebody who voted for Barack Obama and get them to vote for me!
"The Obama campaign thinks they're gone take Pennsylvania," he said to jeers from the crowd. "We're going to win Pennsylvania, we're going to take Pennsylvania."
Romney then took several minutes to shake hands with supporters and some of the cadets who sat on stage as a backdrop before going out to an adjacent patio to address another large crowd that could not fit in the main ballroom. Then it was back on the bus and back on the road to a weekend that includes preparing for the first presidential debate next week with Barack Obama.