As Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a campaign stop in Shelby Township on Tuesday, he told a crowd of about 500 people at Eagle Manufacturing that his main goal if elected president of the United States would be to “cut the spending.”
“We need to balance our budget and do more things to reduce our spending,” he started off by saying.
Romney, who appeared relaxed in jeans, said he plans on achieving that goal by keeping taxes flat, or lower, cut government spending and end entitlements.
The Michigan native said he chose to hold the town hall forum at the Eagle Manufacturing, a Shelby Township-based defense manufacturing plant, to drive home the notion that the private sector in America will be the key to job creation, not the government.
“I know you have to get the government out of the way and let the private sector create jobs,” said the former Massachusetts Governor.
Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis echoed Romney’s sentiments, stating Eagle Manufacturing has promised to bring more than 30 jobs to the township.
Romney, the son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney, clarified that unlike his competitor, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who spoke in Shelby Friday at Palazzo Grande, he has not spent his entire career in Washington and understands the struggles of a businessperson.
“I’m the only guy in the race who has worked in the private sector,” Romney added. "I am looking to get that job so I can change Washington, not so I can be a part of it."
Romney said his tax plan for the U.S. would be to make them flatter, fairer and simpler.
“If you raise taxes on anybody in America, you’re going to depress job creations,” he said.
On government spending, Romney told the crowd that his plan would be very different from Obama’s $1 trillion dollars per year.
“If we continue at this rate, we’ll be like Greece,” he said.
Romney said he’ll spell out his full economic plan when he addresses the Detroit Economic Club on Friday.
Romney's plan for the auto bailout was reinforced again Tuesday. He supported a managed bankruptcy for the Big Three in 2009. Romney told the crowd that United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger had told Washington that nobody would buy cars from bankrupt companies.
"I was right and he was wrong," said Romney.
While on the topic of government spending, Romney said it’s important that the government do everything it can to protect Medicare and Social Security for future generations.
Lisa Richter of Washington Township, who came to the town hall with her children and nieces in tow, said she supports Romney, and agrees with his policies on ending entitlements and cutting spending.
Richter visibly shivered when she recounted her 5-year-old niece’s words told to her and her mother just yesterday.
“My niece here said if Obama’s in office she should not work because he’ll give her money and if she does work, he’ll take her money. It’s a little scary the children are thinking that mindset that early,” she said.
Before introducing Romney to the crowd, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who called Romney “the comeback kid,” said Romney is the only candidate who could defeat President Barack Obama in the next election.
“Someone needs to stop Obama and that person is Mitt Romney,” he said.
Romney took a range of questions from the audience, ranging from religious freedom to abortion to who he would choose as his running mate and his stance on Iran.
Romney, who is a Mormon, told the crowd he was pro-life, and although he hasn't even begun to think about who his running mate would be, that person would also have to be pro-life and conservative to the core.
While in town, both Santorum and Romney criticized Obama's diplomacy with Iran and the threat that Iran poses in possibly building a nuclear program.
Romney said that if "crippling sanctions" and other strategies failed, the military, which he plans on amping up by at least 100,000 people, would be on the table because it is "unacceptable" for Iran to become a nuclear power.
"We will prepare our military so that they (Iran) will not have nuclear weapons that threaten America," said Romney Tuesday.
In closing, Romney has said he has toured all 83 counties in Michigan while helping his father win the governor's race and his mother Lenore run for senate in 1970.
"Macomb County has always been very good to me, my dad and the Romney family," he said.
Dawn Beauvias of Shelby Township brought her sons, Steve, 17, and Michael, 19, both first-time presidential voters, to hear Romney speak.
Beauvais said she found it interesting that both GOP candidates made a stop in Shelby Township leading up to the primary elections on Feb. 28.
"I really think Mitt should win this state based upon his history and his father being the governor, but I do think his talk about not supporting the bailout of the car industry has really hurt him a bit in Michigan," said Beauvais. "That’s why Rick Santourm came here to win the state’s vote, but Mitt has to follow suit to get more support and get his message out."