Colorado Springs was at the center of the American politics Saturday, when Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spoke to several thousand exuberant supporters in a hangar at Colorado Springs Airport.
The Republican landed, spoke for about 20 minutes and was whisked off for campaign events elsewhere in Colorado, which has emerged as a major swing state in Romney’s campaign to unseat President Barack Obama.
IN PICTURES: Mitt Romney Rally
The candidate has made several appearances in Colorado Springs.
In a speech full of patriotic themes, Romney said the country’s economic troubles can be overcome with a new direction in government.
“The only thing that stands between us and some of the best years we’ve ever seen is a lack of leadership,” he said.
Touting his business experience, he pledged to boost the economy by shrinking government, de-regulating industry, increasing fossil fuels development and cutting the deficit by 5 percent a year.
He said Obama’s efforts at economic stimulus have failed because the president focused not on jobs but health care reform, which he said states could opt out of under his presidency.
“We’ve almost forgotten what real recovery looks like, what Americans can achieve when we limit government instead of limiting the dreams of our fellow Americans,” he said.
“The question of this election comes down to do you want more of the same or do you want real change?”
He found a receptive audience here, and the faithful left the chilly airport hangar brimming with optimism about Tuesday’s election, which polls show is a virtual deadlock in Colorado.
“He was solid and clean, to the point, what he needed to say. It wasn’t a bunch of fluff,” said Rob Brunk. “I wanted him to say there’s a future for my kids and he said that.”
“If I were owning a business and I were looking for a CEO and I had Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in front of me, I’m looking at the track record. And obviously, Mitt Romney has a better track record in how to make my company successful,” said Albert Guse.
Said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, also at the rally, “I want our fellow citizens to be able to find stable well-paying jobs and I want our military to be the finest in the world. And I want our children and our grandchildren to have a chance to achieve the American dream like I have and I just feel like he’s our best hope to get that done.”
Romney backer Phil Deremer predicted a “landslide” in the election for his candidate.
“We’ve got a way ahead. Four more years of the last four years, copycat of that, isn’t going to make it,” he said. “He’ll take Colorado. He’ll take the nation.”
Candidates hit Colorado
While Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney hit Colorado Springs, Saturday, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden rallied voters in Pueblo and Arvada.
The tickets will be back at it Sunday, with GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan hitting Colorado stops including Castle Rock and Democratic President Barack Obama courting voters an Aurora rally.