[Encore post from September 2007 "Defending the American Dream" conference in Washington, D.C.]
From my seat at the "Defending the American Dream" evening session, I could see Governor Mitt Romney standing in the wings waiting his turn to speak. He looked Presidential ... ramrod straight posture and chiseled good looks as he attentively listened to the lead-in speakers. I know ... that sounds shallow and, no, I do not choose my candidates on looks.
What was impressive was that he delivered when he stepped to the podium. He was dynamic and received an enthusiastic reception from the crowd especially many of the College Republicans who were cheering and wearing "Mitt" lapel stickers.
Governor Romney said he believed in the principles of conservatism and strength ... that a strong America is the best chance of peace in the world ... that America's strength stops wars.
He stressed that Iranian President (terrorist) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should not have been invited to New York ... he should have been indicted in New York.
He received a hearty laugh from the crowd when he called the three democrat presidential front-runners the "Three Taxateers" ... and then proceeded to list his stand on the issues: kill the death tax, keep the Bush tax cuts permanent, lower the marginal tax rates, hold the line on Social Security taxes, and lower corporate tax rates because that will grow more jobs and more revenue.
He said Americans should not be penalized on saving accounts and proposed those with incomes of $200,000 or less should pay no taxes on those savings.
Mitt Romney is the only Presidential candidate to sign Grover Norquist's "Americans for Tax Reform" pledge. He believes in lower spending and Presidential line-item veto power, something he said he has used often as Governor. It is time, he said, for Republicans to start acting like Republicans.
He ended by recalling a sad journey, as governor of Massachusetts, to the airport to pay respects to a Marine killed in Iraq. Standing on the tarmac, as the coffin came down the conveyor off the plane, he said his eyes filled with tears and he instinctively placed his hand over his heart in reverence and gratitude ... and as the coffin was carried off the plane, he turned toward the airport terminal ... and there, across the entire length of the building, lined shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the windows, were fellow Americans standing with their hands over their hearts in respect for this young Marine who had paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Mitt impressed me and afterwards I talked with his Virginia volunteer to find information for further research.
I must admit I was impressed with Mitt Romney in 2002 in his role with the Olympics. Scandal-driven and in financial trouble ... and in the aftermath of 9/11 when terrorism was still very fresh on people's minds ... Romney became the head of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee and turned it around. Not only was he able to provide security that convinced people still skiddish from 9/11 to come to America and be a part of the crowds, he was also able to provide enough security to allow the President of the United States, George W. Bush, to attend the events. It's a moment I remember well because I was concerned for the President's safety ... our President in the stands with the crowd all around. Because of his leadership, Mitt Romney provided a safe and successful Olympics in the United States.
I have heard many question Romney's religion. I don't give a whit about his Morman background (I'm Baptist) ... people in the 1960s were concerned that John F. Kennedy was Catholic and it did not affect him as President. I'm not going to church with the man; I want him to lead the country.
Mitt is definitely on the short list of possibilities. He hit a home run Friday night and I'm listening.