Romney gives ‘closing argument’ at MKE stop

On Friday morning, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to supporters at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Expo Center as part of his campaign’s home stretch before Tuesday’s election. It was Romney’s first Wisconsin appearance since announcing Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate in August.

The venue was filled to capacity with more than 4,500 people in attendance, along with a 1,500-person crowd outside. Nearly 2,000 more people were turned away at the gate.

Local elementary school teacher Kimberly Paulson anticipated the large turnout and arrived with her husband and 13-year-old son at 5:45 a.m. Friday morning.

“(We wanted to) be sure to see Romney and see history up close,” Paulson said. “(The wait) was definitely worth it.”

Several Republican leaders addressed the audience before Romney’s speech, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, former Gov. and current U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, and Gov. Scott Walker. Bart Starr,  former Green Bay Packers quarterback and coach, also made an appearance.

Romney took the stage at 10:30 a.m. and was greeted with chants of “Four more days!” before beginning what his campaign dubbed the “closing argument” for the Republican candidate. He shaped the argument around the claim that President Barack Obama has failed to deliver on promises the president made in his 2008 campaign.

“He said he was going to cut the federal deficit in half, and then he doubled it,” Romney said. “He said he was going to lower the unemployment rate down to 5.2 percent. Today we learned that it’s actually 7.9 percent, and that’s nine million jobs short of what he promised … He admits that he’ll stay on the same path he’s been on. The same path we’re on means $20 trillion in debt in four years … Unless we change course, we may well be looking at another recession.”

Romney also talked about his experience in business as governor of Massachusetts and the willingness he showed to work across the aisle at a time when 87 percent of the state’s legislators were Democrats.

“I won’t just represent one party,” he said. “I’ll represent one nation.”

Romney also explained his five-point plan for improving the nation, which he first emphasized during the presidential debates.

His first point is taking full advantage of the energy resources already present in America, he said, particularly through drilling on federal land and revisiting strict coal regulations. Second, Romney said he would like to boost trade with Latin America by asking Congress for trade promotion authority, which traditionally requires Congress to vote on proposed trade agreements within 90 days without seeking amendments to those agreements.

Romney’s third point referred to a “retraining reform act,” which he said would help underemployed workers acquire the skills needed for a sustainable job. The fourth point was focused on tackling “out-of-control spending” by balancing the budget and reducing the $16 trillion national debt. For his fifth point, Romney said he hopes to boost business, especially small business, throughout the country. He said he would start by eliminating regulations that are hurting small businesses.

Romney said he is optimistic that with the right direction and leadership, America and its economy will see marked improvement.

“If you’re tired of being tired, I ask you to vote for real change,” he said. “Paul Ryan and I will bring real change to America from day one … On Nov. 6, we come together for a better future. And on Nov. 7, we’ll get to work.”