Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaking like a front-runner, aimed his barbs Friday at President Barack Obama and only acknowledged he was among eight GOP contenders when a member of his audience raised the topic.
Romney received an enthusiastic reception from Oklahoma Republicans, and fired up the crowd when he said another four years of an Obama administration would be harmful to America. Obama failed to win a single one of Oklahoma's 77 counties in 2008.
“Governor, welcome to the reddest state in the country,” Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell told Romney.
“You guys are smarter than the rest of the country,” Romney said. “You saw something that I don't think the rest of the nation saw.”
Romney, 64, focused criticism on the Democratic president, saying Obama's policies and regulations are crippling the country's economy. He said the president's proposed jobs bill is lacking and is nothing more than another federal stimulus package.
“I'm convinced that if we keep the current president he will put us on a course that will weaken America militarily, economically and from the standpoint of our fundamental values,” he said.
Romney several times said he loved America whereas Obama and his administration don't seem to understand what made America a great nation.
“That's why this president is going to be a one-term president,” Romney said.
About 175 people attended the rally for Romney at the Jim Thorpe Association and Sports Hall of Fame, 4040 N Lincoln Blvd. Those attending paid $20.12 each, with the money going to the Oklahoma Republican Party.
Two hours earlier, about 120 people paid $500 to $2,500 a ticket to attend a fundraising dinner for the Republican candidate.
More than $200,000 was raised for the Romney campaign, said Ryan Leonard, finance chairman for Romney's campaign in Oklahoma.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and business entrepreneur, said he would immediately roll back the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent to help make American companies more competitive in the global market.
He also pledged to work to help the plight of America's middle class, saying he would remove any tax burden on their savings.
Romney drew applause when he said he would back an immigration policy “that supports legal immigration and will stop illegal immigration.”
He also pledged to work on reducing the country's escalating deficit. People won't invest in a country that spends more money than it takes in, he said.
Romney, who finished third in Oklahoma's Republican presidential primary in 2008, didn't mention any of the other GOP contenders vying for their party's nomination. Asked whether the Republican contenders, who have engaged in several testy debates, could rally behind the eventual GOP nominee, he said, “Any person on that stage would do a better job than President Barack Obama.”