Romney Takes on Obama

Mitt Romney is running for president on a platform of returning many costs to the states.

Mitt Romney is running for president on a platform of returning many costs to the states. Photo by R.L. Nave

Unlike his Republican predecessors who visited Jackson earlier in the week, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney avoided mentioning his Republican presidential rivals by name. Instead, he focused his remarks squarely on President Barack Obama, a Democrat Romney hopes to challenge for the presidency this fall.

"If someone's looking for the things this president has done wrong, it's a long list," Romney told supporters at a Jackson rally early this morning.

Among the four candidates who remain in the race, Romney has captured the most delegates but has had trouble building momentum among conservatives in the Deep South and parts of the Midwest because of uneasiness about his Mormon faith and moderate stances on social issues earlier in his political career--to say nothing his waffling on those subjects as his political profile has risen in recent years.

At the town hall-style meeting at the Farmers Market, Romney eschewed wedge social issues, opting to hit Obama, who lacks a primary foe in Mississippi, on jobs and the economy. On day one of his administration, Romney vowed to repeal the Obama-backed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying slashing the program would save taxpayers $95 billion.

The nonpartisan fact-checking organization PolitiFact called Romney's claim false on its Truth-O-Meter, citing revenue-raising components of the 2010 law over the long-term. Still, PolitiFact determined that "according to the (Congressional Budget Office) analysis, a full repeal of the bill would reduce the deficit by $16 billion in 2016, much less than the number Romney cited."

Romney also vowed to slash government-supported programs such as Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, saying the entities should support their activities without government support.

But where Romney's critiques on Obama are part of his building a case for his inevitability as the GOP nominee, his Republican challengers are hitting Mitt every bit as forcefully as they are the president.

Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich preceded Romney, holding capital city rallies Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Despite arriving an hour late, Santorum drew a respectable crowd to the Agriculture and Forestry Museum Wednesday. Santorum blamed an "over oppressive" government for the state of the American economy. Although he had plenty of ammunition for Obama, who Santorum accused of not understanding America, he also took aim at Romney for implementing a health care program during his tenure as governor that provided the model for Obama's landmark health bill.

"Mississippi, you have an opportunity to narrow the race between a conservative and insider moderate," Santorum said, referring to himself and Romney.

The other conservative vying for to be their party's nominee, Gingrich, also came to town this week. Although he took a similar tack, accusing Obama of declaring war on religious institutions and repudiating the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, Gingrich was much more professorial than either of the other Republicans, drilling down into nuts-and-bolts energy issues, including saying he would expand drilling on federal lands and in coastal waters.

The Mississippi primary takes place Tuesday, March 13. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas, also remains in the race but has not yet visited Mississippi. Other Republicans who remain on the ballot but who have bowed out of the race for the nomination, are Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

Legacy Comments

Romney's "unfavorable" have taken a jump in the past few weeks, perhaps because the GOP competition has been so fierce. I was surprised to see not only Romney's unfavorables getting nearly to 50%, but favorables only at 33%. http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/mitt-romney-favorability#! It seems odd at this point in the race to be so upside-down in those polls... John Kerry, for instance, around this time in 2004, seemed to be received much more along party lines, coming in at the 30s in both measurements with a lot of people not fully decided. Romney must already have some strong unfavorables with conservatives and independents.

Todd Stauffer2012-03-09T16:28:36-06:00

So Romney got a crash course in Southern Speaking, "Hi Y'all" and he also developed an immediate tase for "cheezy grits." The translation for his new found culture is: I am speaking to a bunch of low informational dumb asses. This is all so fake! It is hard to believe that some folks are willing to vote against their own interest just to defeat President Obama. I'm with Mrs. Bush on this one: This group of GOP candidates is very, very poor. Come on Obama, Let's git-er-dun!

justjess2012-03-09T18:19:40-06:00

I don't understand how people who consider themselves to be a conservative back Mitt Romney when if you do any research at all, as easy as watching him in videos on youtube, you find what he really stands for. There are many videos where he himself speaks to his beliefs and stances on the issues, showing him to be a moderate at the very best, liberal on most.Romney is truly only slightly right of Obama on most issues. I can understand changing your postion on 1 or 2 issues, but to change on the majority of them just reeks of political expediency. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=AsB_0E0Q4qE&NR=1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JLMJHsSaKU&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeQGObiGGqY&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lH3itC1Z6Vo&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM0x8WnI4to&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDpMs0DfqY&feature=relmfu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF0iVBCM-Oo&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLVL_8wKjdY&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po-Gr9tzYlU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4r9dMP21hM&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS33Hkgnls4 In the general election, Obama would clean Romney's clock just as he did to McCain in 08.Obama will prove him to be the politically expediate candidate he is through the above mentioned videos, showing him espousing his moderate liberal stances on most issues previous to 07, then his sudden conversion to "Conservatism" on the very same issues as he ramped up his campaign for the Republican Presidential primary in 08. Obama will definately portray Romney as a representative of the 1% with his untold wealth and secretive accounts in the Cayman Islands and Swiss banks. This class-warfare will play well with the Democrats and a large percentage of Independants, as well as the mainstream media.Romney will not fair well in the debates against Obama either. He has had few really good debate performances, only actually winning the 2 held in Florida. That's 2 out of approximately 19, enough said!

Charles4102012-03-10T00:43:56-06:00

Politics in Mississippi is comical! I'm sorry, it frustrates the living daylights out of me! From our city council all the way to who to vote for to put in the white house. with all that said, I'm shocked in such a "conservative state", all of the big wigs in state office (Governor all the way down to ag commmissioner) are endorsing Romney, instead of either Santorum or Gingrich, whom clearly are the candidates the people that elected our officials in a landslide to office, relate to.

Duan C.2012-03-10T20:44:01-06:00

Obviously, the elected officials are playing into the media analysis and polls that have said nothing but Romney is the only electable candidate, he is inevitable one, he has been vetted....haha He hasn't been vetted against Obama yet. Funny, how these people forget what happened just over 3 years ago. The media was great for McCain until Obama came into the picture. Maybe politicians have just been in politics too long and can no longer recognize truth from reality. How can anyone think Romney will defeat Obama, especially with so many people without jobs and income? How could he possibly represent people when he can not begin to relate to us? The only candidate that has a chance of defeating Obama is Newt and he can't get passed this Republican nomination so we are stuck with Obama again.

Lynn Otting2012-03-11T14:36:42-06:00

Lynn: Dismissing the media is one thing, but you might want to be a bit more realistic about polls... Newt's unfavorables range from the 50s to the 60s across any number of polls (http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contest/us-favorability-gingrich) and it looks like he's running a distant second right now in Mississippi, which some feel is critical for him to continue past Tuesday (http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/fivethirtyeight/primaries/mississippi). (A win in Alabama might keep him going, though, even if he doesn't win in Mississippi.) The best chance Republicans have of getting someone other than Romney is probably convincing Newt to drop out -- something he tried to do to Santorum earlier in the race when it appeared that Santorum was siphoning off Newt's "anyone-but-Mitt" vote instead of the other way around. Santorum's unfavorables are lower than Newt's (http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contest/us-favorability-santorum), although you could argue that's partly because he's less well known. People know Newt well at this point... and they don't like him much. Ironically, if Gingrich wins Alabama and Romney wins Mississippi, you'll probably see the slog continue; I plan to keep a close eye on Hawaii to see if Ron Paul can pick up a win. ;-)

Todd Stauffer2012-03-11T15:05:12-06:00

Keep in mind we've got an open primary - if you want to see this thing drag out - get out and vote. Right now, it looks like Gingrich has the best chance of winning, so he's got two votes coming out of my house.

SalPairodice2012-03-12T08:08:33-06:00

I saw a poll that shows Gingrich with a slight lead over Romney, with Santorum in a not-too-distant third behind Romney. There are also close polling numbers in Alabama, too.

golden eagle2012-03-12T20:10:37-06:00

Gingrich continues to rely on a makeshift Southern strategy to be a spoiler in this race. He probably will win Mississippi and Alabama, since I don't think the good ol' boys down here care much for Romney and Gingrich seems to speak their language and seems to have their respect despite his personal shortcomings.

Jeff Lucas2012-03-13T11:14:18-06:00

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