Josh Romney, 37-year-old son of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, spoke to over 100 local supporters at Geisty’s Dogg House on the Hill in Boulder Thursday afternoon, directly after President Obama gave remarks to a crowd of 8,400 in Golden, Colo.
Romney arrived on the Romney Victory Bus, a surrogate-toting vehicle that traveled to Boulder from Golden, where he and former Colo. Congressman Bob Beauprez drew a crowd of 150 when parked outside of Old Capitol Grill on Washington St., just minutes from President Obama’s Thursday event at Lions Park.
One of Mitt Romney’s five sons, Josh Romney shared family anecdotes with attendees at Geisty’s, including one from 2008 when Mitt Romney officially dropped out of the presidential primary in a speech at the Colorado Political Action Conference.
“My mom had a friend there who had a video camera and she looked to that friend and said ‘You know, if I even think about doing this in four years, I want you to take me by the arm, slap me in the face and remind me how awful this is — we’re not doing it again,’” Romney said. “My dad, later, when he heard about that, he said, ‘Ann, you said that after every pregnancy.’”
Romney said that the family struggled after the 2008 primary loss, but that it was his mother who helped Mitt realize his 2012 ambitions.
“They like telling this story a lot,” Josh Romney said. According to their son, when Ann asked Mitt if, acting as president, he could turn the economy around, he answered “yes” to which she returned, “You don’t have a choice, you have to run again.”
On the opposing ticket, Obama’s speech took a different and more rehearsed tone in Golden on Thursday.
In the renewable energy capital of Colorado, where the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Colorado School of Mines’ engineering and environmental programs are housed, Obama gave no personal anecdotes but focused instead on energy talking points. A topic that Romney barely touched on Thursday, energy was a key piece of Obama’s remarks.
“Thousands of Americans here in Colorado and all across the country have jobs today building wind turbines and long lasting batteries, solar panels,” Obama said. “And today the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than any time in nearly two decades.”
Over 5,000 jobs in Colorado are in the wind energy industry, and the predominately middle-aged, local residents that attended the president’s event cheered when he talked about the success of that sector.
“We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy that we generate from sources like wind and solar power,” the president said. “We’re going to build on this progress; we need to keep investing in wind and solar.”
One young attendee of Obama’s event was 19-year-old Jenna Metzinger, a sophomore at CU Denver, stated that she is most concerned about renewable energy, the social issue of gay rights and, most importantly, the cost of higher education.
“I have loans out right now and I have some friends that have Pell Grants and it’s really important to get an education, I feel,” Metzinger said. “That’s always been something I’ve wanted to do and that other people should have the opportunity to do.”
She also said that women’s reproductive rights and defending Obama’s health care innovation were important issues to her this election.
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Josh Romney did address the importance of repealing the Affordable Care Act to his father, he did not touch on any of the other subjects the students in Golden listed.
And yet, listeners of Romney’s speech, directly across from CU, included many more students than Obama’s event, despite the proximity of Lions Park to Mines.
Among them was Carl Healy, a 21-year-old senior at the Colorado School of Mines in nearby Golden, who traveled to hear and meet the candidate surrogate.
“Josh Romney was here today to show how his dad would turn us around onto a path of prosperity,” Healy said after the event.
“These past four years this country has been moving ‘forward’ into an abyss of reckless spending, high taxes, high unemployment and high energy costs,” Healy said. “I enjoyed seeing the beautiful town of Boulder and getting a chance to hear what Josh and the others had to say up close.”
Romney stated that he has seen a good youth turnout at the political events he’s held and attended this spring and summer, “particularly among those who are starting to send their resumes out looking for jobs and realize the jobs just aren’t there,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of people who recognize we need a change in Washington.”
“It means a lot that so many of you are following politics closely enough to come out and care to come to an event like this and get involved,” Romney said to the Boulder crowd.
The event was hosted by Young Americans for Romney and, like Obama’s, was organized just days prior. CU Boulder student Aslinn Scott, vice chair of the Colorado Federation of College Republicans, led the event by introducing former Colorado Congressman Bob Beauprez.
“Let the record show we have a Republican crowd in Boulder,” Beauprez said, exciting the squished Boulder students and residents that filled the small restaurant.
“Today, there are 216,000 fewer people employed in America than there were when he took office, with 8.8 million more in the workforce. Does that sound like progress to you?” Beauprez posed, inciting a round of “no’s” from the crowd.
Romney pressed the surreal implications that a massive government debt, recently surpassing $16 trillion, will have on the coming-of-age generation.
“I can’t even comprehend how big that number is,” Romney said. “And that’s a number that my dad and President Obama – their generation doesn’t have to pay that back, they don’t have to worry about it, but we do, people younger than me and my age, we’re going to have to pay that back.”
Romney stated his bottom line for the upcoming election: “The reality is that we’ve got huge debt and real problems facing us unless we make some dramatic changes.”
In a light moment, much like the infamous milkshake spillage on Obama back in April, a Boulder passer-by unknowingly stepped on Romney’s foot as she made her way past Smelly Deli on the Hill, where he was talking with the CU Independent.
“She stepped on my foot,” Romney remarked with little more than a wince and a shrug. See the video below.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Editor Alison Noon at Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org.