Romney predicts he’ll win Wisconsin during Janesville stop
Republican contender to challenge Obama next fall
JANESVILLE, Wis. — Mitt Romney is predicting victory in Wisconsin.
No Republican presidential candidate has carried the state since 1984. But speaking to supporters in Wisconsin on Monday, Romney predicted he will win the Midwestern state in November on the way to defeating President Barack Obama.
“I think President Obama just put (Wisconsin) in his column,” Romney said. “He just assumed from the very beginning Wisconsin was going to be his. But you know what? We’re going to win Wisconsin and we’re going to win the White House.”
The visit was the Republican challenger’s first to Wisconsin since GOP Gov. Scott Walker survived a contentious recall election two weeks ago. The victory has given Republicans confidence that they can compete against Obama, who carried the state by 14 points four years ago.
Walker introduced Romney and said Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008. He credited the state’s Republican legislators — not Obama’s policies.
“It is my honor to still be the 45th governor of the state of Wisconsin,” said Walker in his introduction. “And it is my honor to be on the stage with the man I hope is the 45th president of these United States.”
Walker last week told reporters in Washington that Romney couldn’t take Wisconsin for granted and needed to simplify his message.15150754
To a packed and steamy warehouse space at textile plant Monterey Mills, Romney spoke in front of a banner that said “Putting Jobs First.”
He spoke to residents about hard times in the country and in their city, calling the president “out of touch” and pledged to help create jobs.
“They know that last time his campaign slogan was ‘hope and change’,” said Romney. “This time they’re going with ‘we hope to change the subject.’ But we’re not going to let them do that. We’re going to talk about the economy and jobs and getting Americans back to work.”
Romney hammered home the need to create jobs in the country, promising to repeal Obama’s health care plan, to keep taxes low for small businesses and generally slamming Obama for not doing enough.
“People are having a hard time and those unemployment numbers understate the difficulties people are having in this country,” Romney said. “I wish the president would get out and talk to people. He’d understand just how out of touch he was when he said the private sector is doing fine. It is not. It needs help and I’m going to get it.”
Romney supporters who packed the plant said the candidate needs to focus on creating jobs if he wants to win Wisconsin.
Retired secretary Carolyn Brandt, of Janesville, said she didn’t initially support Romney, but he can win if he focuses on creating jobs. She said Janesville has been hurting ever since the General Motors plant closed down more than two years ago.
“Just what I heard (Romney talk about) was jobs, jobs and more jobs,” said Karen Arneson, of Janesville.
“I thought he did a great job of explaining his plan and whittling it down into a topic that even I can understand, so it was wonderful,” said Tim Lindau, of Janesville.
“He said the three things he wants to do,” said Perry Clark, a Monterey Mills employee. “If he’s anything like Gov. Walker, just seeing what he did coming in and he just took over. Came in and bada boom, bada bing, he did his thing.”
Romney is counting on Walker’s faithful following him through November, and the governor said he thinks it is possible.
“I think he said all the right things and that he’s really listening to people,” said Walker. “I think that’s something that gives him an advantage over the president.”
Walker also said he thought Romney needed to come back to Wisconsin often before the election in order to win the state, saying voters here needed to see the candidate to make a choice.
Romney also stopped in Dubuque and is finishing his day in the battleground state of Iowa.
Democrats outside of Romney’s campaign stop in Janesville said they’re not worried about the GOP gaining momentum from Walker’s recall victory two weeks ago.
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said Monday that Obama is “absolutely ahead right now” and is in a strong position despite the Walker win.
Exit polls in the recall showed that while Walker won by seven points, Obama was also leading.
Democrats said Romney doesn’t understand what average citizens in Wisconsin are going through and that his policies won’t help them.
“I think its a long time between now and November, and I think fancy talk isn’t going to paper over the fact that Mitt Romney’s policies have been tried in this country and failed, and they’re what put us in this big hole that the president is climbing us out of right now,” Tate said.
Tate said Obama’s policies would help the middle class and that voters have a clear choice between two visions for the country.
Retired teacher Sarah Wagner of Brighton wore all black in protest over the Romney appearance. Wagner said she didn’t think the Walker recall win translated to the November election, saying the Democratic base of voters was just as invigorated as Republicans.