Romney promises 'real change' during Davenport speech


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Originally Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2012, 9:42 am
Last Updated: Oct. 30, 2012, 9:29 am
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Promising to bring "real change" to Washington, D.C., Mitt Romney made a final appeal to Iowa voters in Davenport on Monday, as the presidential election inches toward the finishing line.

The Republican presidential nominee spoke for a little more than 20 minutes in front of an estimated crowd of 2,500 at Seven Cities Sod in Davenport.

He said he would cut corporate and individual tax rates and repeal President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

"For small business to start hiring again, we've got to take that big cloud away," Mr. Romney said. "And that big cloud is Obamacare."

Mr. Romney is locked in a tight battle with President Obama for the White House. National polls showing the pair are running neck and neck one week from election day.

Mr. Romney said America was on the wrong track, with 23 million people unable to find a job and high taxes making U.S. businesses uncompetitive compared to foreign rivals.

"The president happens to think we are already on the right track -- everything is going fine," Mr. Romney said.   "His campaign slogan is 'Forward.'

"I don't think we're on the right path," he said. "I want to take a new path and get America strong again."

Mr. Romney said he was optimistic that, if elected, he could lead a renaissance in the American economy by cutting taxes and regulations, especially for small businesses. He said he would put the federal government's budget back in the black, while restoring $716 billion in Medicare funding  Obamacare would cut from the program by reducing payments to providers.

In contrast, a vote for President Obama would result in further growth in the government's $16 trillion debt, Mr. Romney said.

"I happen to believe that if he were to be re-elected, you'd see roughly $20 trillion in government debt at the end of the next four years," Mr. Romney said. "If I'm elected, we are going to get America on track to finally having a balanced budget."

Mr. Romney has sought to burnish his bipartisan credentials since winning the Republican primary. In Davenport he promised he would work with Democrats to overcome gridlock in Congress.

"You have to be willing to reach across the aisle and find good Democrats that love America just like we do," he said.

But Erin Seidler, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, was quick to push back against the assertion that Mr. Romney would be a bipartisan leader in the White House.

“The American people shouldn’t trust a word Mitt Romney says when he claims he’d reach across the aisle as president," she said.  "The truth is that Romney didn’t work with Democrats in Massachusetts like he claims and, over the last six years he’s been running for president, he’s never stood up to the most extreme voices in the Republican Party."

In recent days on the campaign trail, Mr. Romney has talked about how he would bring change to Washington D.C., something he repeated in Davenport.

“I look at this election as a turning point,” he said. “We need to take a new course. And so, on Day 1, I’ll propose real change.”

He outlined his five-point plan for the nation that includes making the U.S. energy independent, cutting the deficit, championing small business and improving education. The needs of parents and children should be the first priority of education reform, he said, with teachers unions at the back of the line. 

Iowa's importance in the race to the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidential election has been underlined in recent days by the flurry of visits to the state from both campaigns.

President Obama, who won Iowa in 2008, spoke in Davenport last week the same day that Mr. Romney was in Cedar Rapids. On Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke in Iowa City. Vice-president Joe Biden will campaign in Iowa later this week.

An average of national polls on Monday by Real Clear Politics had Mr. Romney leading President Obama by less than one point. In Iowa, President Obama lead by 49 to 46.7 percent, according to Real Clear Politics.

Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable introduced Mr. Romney to Monday's audience. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Prebus and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad also spoke at the event. 

AUDIO SLIDESHOW

---

Here's an archived version of QCOnline's live blog of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's visit to Davenport on Monday afternon.

3:57 p.m. Thank you for joining today's live blog.

3:54 p.m. "I'm convinced the people of Iowa have very clear eyes about this election and full hearts," Mr. Romney says, as he leaves the stage.

3:53 p.m. Now, the Republican nominee is talking about single-moms, and families who work hard but are struggling in this economy.

3:52 p.m. Mr. Romney is asking veterans in the audience to raise their hands to be recognized.

3:50 p.m. Mr. Romney is now talking about his time as a leader in the Boy Scouts of America.

3:49 p.m. "For small business to start hiring again we've got to take that big cloud away," Mr. Romney says. "And that big cloud is Obamacare."

3:47 p.m. The U.S. economy can grow by expanding trade with Latin America, Mr. Romney says.

3:46 p.m. Mr. Romney is outlining his five point plan that will create 12 million jobs, he says, and make America energy independent.

3:45 p.m. We need to cut taxes on business, to keep U.S. corporations competitive with other countries that have lower taxes, Mr. Romney says, but he also promises to cut tax deductions that businesses use to lower their effective tax rate.

3:44 p.m. "We need real change, big change," Mr. Romney says.

3:43 p.m. "You have to be willing to reach across the aisle and find good Democrats that love America just like we do," Mr. Romney says, promising to end the gridlock in Congress.

3:42 p.m. President Obama will raise taxes, Mr. Romney says. "There's no question that raising taxes costs jobs," he adds.

3:41 p.m. "If I'm elected we are going to get America on track to finally having a balanced budget," Mr. Romney says, adding that he'll restore the $716 billion Obamacare would take out of Medicare.

3:40 p.m."The president happens to think we are already on the right track, everything is going fine," Mr. Romney says.

3:39 p.m. "We've gone four years now with 23 million people unable to find a job," Mr. Romney says. "This is a tough time for the country."

3:37 p.m. "This election is going to have major impact not just for four years but for a generation," Mr. Romney says.

3:35 p.m. Mr. Romney is now taking the stage, after being introduced by Gov. Branstad.

3:34 p.m. Mr. Romney "will work with Democrats and Republicans" if he's elected, Gov. Branstad says, pointing to Mr. Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts, a "very liberal state." 

3:33 p.m. President Obama's policies "have divided and demonized," Gov. Branstad says, to loud applause.

3:32 p.m. Illinois is governed by President Obama's "buddies," Gov. Branstad says, and that's why the state is headed in the wrong direction. "They (Illinois) have more debt per-capita than any other state," he adds. 

3:31 p.m. Republican governors across the country, Gov. Branstad says, have cut regulations and taxes and that's why economies in those states are coming back.

3:28 p.m. "Businesses don't have the predictability and certainty they need to grow in this country," Gov. Branstad says, and he attributes that to regulations introduced by Democrats.

3:27 p.m. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad takes the stage now to thunderous applause.

3:23 p.m. Mr. Gable is praising Mr. Romney, saying the Republican understands Iowans and their needs.

3:22 p.m. Mr. Gable is famous for losing only one wrestling match in his entire Iowa State University collegiate career. He won a gold medal for wrestling in the 1972 Olympic Games.

3:21 p.m. Dan Gable is now taking the stage to loud applause.

3:19 p.m. "A country that is controlled by China can't compete with China," Mr. Prebus says. "Mitt Romney wants to save the American dream."

3:18 p.m. "Are you guys ready to hire Mitt Romney to save America," says RNC chairman Reince Prebus as he takes the stage. "We are in a battle for freedom in this country."

3:15 p.m. Pete Barboutis, of Bettendorf, said he hopes to hear Mr. Romney talk about his plan for the economy today. "He understands how business works and how the economy grows," Mr. Barboutis says of the Republican nominee. "He doesn't believe that economies grow from trickle down government."

3:10 p.m. It's standing room only now as the crowd listens to Brantley Gilbert's hit Country Must Be Country Wide.

3:06 p.m. Mr. Romney's motorcade is making its way from Moline to Davenport.

2:57 p.m. The crowd is now watching a video on a big screen about Mr. Romney's family.

2:55 p.m. The Obama campaign, meanwhile, will continue to blitz Iowa in the coming days. First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden will both campaign in Iowa in the next few days, according to a statement from the Obama campaign.

2:53 p.m. Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds is now speaking. "It is irresponsible to continue down this path of more and more spending without a way to pay for it," she says, as she talks about the federal government's $16 trillion debt. Mr. Romney, she says, will reduce that debt.

2:51 p.m. Many Iowans, of course, have already voted early. 

2:50 p.m. "Lets repeal the death tax," Mr. Archer says, to loud applause.

2:49 p.m. One in six Americans are on food stamps, says Mr. Archer, the Republican congressional candidate. "That's not the America I believe in," he adds.

2:48 p.m. "It's time we provide individuals, small businesses and big businesses alike the certainty they need so they can go out and create jobs," Mr. Archer says.

2:47 p.m. "I am confident that in eight days we will win," says John Archer, who is now addressing the crowd. 

2:45 p.m. Scott County Supervisor Tom Sunderbruch is talking now. He says President Obama has failed and it's time for change.

2:40 p.m. Mr. Kennedy gives a shout out to Christie Schilling, wife of U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, who is in the audience today.

2:38 p.m. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad will attend today's campaign event, Mr. Kennedy says, as will Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Prebus.

2:37 p.m. Mr. Kennedy says voters should put their faith in Mr. Romney's ability to "rebuild the middle class."

2:35 p.m. Romney's Iowa campaign chairman Brian Kennedy is warming up the audience. He's encouraging supporters to ask friends who voted for President Obama in 2008 to back Mr. Romney in this election.

2:33 p.m. Mr. Romney has been in Iowa 11 times since the Iowa caucus. His running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, has campaigned in the state on 10 occasions. 

2:32 p.m. Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher is in the audience.

2:27 p.m. Mr. Romney's plane has landed in Moline.

2:25 p.m. Republican congressional candidate John Archer, of Bettendorf, said he hopes to hear "a positive message" from Mr. Romney today. "The American people and the people of Iowa are tired of the blame game," he says. "We need sound fiscal policies to put this country back on the right track." Mr. Archer is running against U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District.

2:14 p.m. There are long lines of supporters waiting to get in here and the seated area is almost full. The crowd is enjoying some country hits, including Taylor Swift's Mine.

2:12 p.m. "With eight days to go, we're feeling the momentum," a new message from the Romney campaign to supporters says.  "The debates have supercharged our campaign and the Republican team. We're seeing more and more enthusiasm, and more and more support." 

2:10 p.m. We can expect Mr. Romney to attack the president's new plan today. On the campaign trail this week, the Republican has been talking about bringing "big change" to America and saying that his campaign has the momentum in the race.

2:09 p.m. President Obama spoke in Davenport last week and touted his new policy blueprint to turn the economy around over the next four years. The president also said Mr. Romney appeared to be suffering from "Romnesia" because he had forgotten many of his past policy positions.

2:07 p.m. Linda Reimann, from Bettendorf, is here to show her support for Mr. Romney. "Everyone says President Obama is going to win Iowa but I don't think so," she says.

2:05 p.m. Therese Dalton, from Davenport, is enjoying a cup of hot apple cider before the main event. Wearing a President George W. Bush pin, she says the country needs a businessman like Mr. Romney in the White House. "We need a businessman  to run this country," she says. "One who knows where to cut and where to expand."

2:03 p.m. Mr. Romney will speak outdoors under a blue sky here at Seven Cities Sod. As a backdrop, he'll have a large American flag and John Deere tractor.

2 p.m. There also are a small number of protesters near the campaign event.

1:58 p.m. Mr. Romney is flying into the Quad City International Airport in but police are responding to a possible suicide attempt off a bridge over the Rock River, which could disrupt the Romney motorcade.

1:55 p.m. An average of Iowa polls has President Obama leading 49-46.7 percent, according to Real Clear Politics. 

1:52 p.m. Mr. Romney will speak at Seven Cities Sod in Davenport some time after 3 p.m. He'll be joined by Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable.

1:50 p.m. Welcome to today's live blog of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign event in Davenport.  Mr. Romney and President Obama have both been campaigning hard in the Iowa, which has only six electoral votes in the electoral college but is a key battleground state. The candidates need 270 electoral votes to win.

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