Video by Ryan McPhail of the Ingham County Chronicle
By Michelle Paetow
Mason Time staff writer
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the featured face at the Ingham County Republican Party’s 2012 Lincoln Day Breakfast on Saturday. He made his pitch to fellow Republicans in preparation for Tuesday’s primary..
California activist and presidential hopeful Fred Karger also spoke at the breakfast at Chisholm Hills Golf and Banquet Center.
With Republican candidates Sen. Rick Santorum and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul also making appearances in Michigan, Romney uses a home-state appeal to gain momentum for the primary election.
“We were lucky this morning to wake up and see that snow. Isn’t it so pretty out there? I love Michigan,” Romney said.
Romney reminisced about his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney’s inauguration and his childhood growing up in Detroit.
“My father was a man of great principle. Talk about principle, this is the guy, he wasn’t always right, but he always thought he was right and he had passion,” Romney said.
Romney did not focus on his opponents, but criticized President Barack Obama and the deficit.
“Remember, he borrowed that $787 billion and he said that he would get unemployment under 8 percent, well for the past 36 months it has been more than 8. In the past three years, he has no proposals,” Romney said. “In the State of the Union address a few weeks ago and he didn’t even mention the deficit or the debt. Around the world you’re seeing crisis and entire regions in peril because of too much debt. And we are heading the same pathway and he has nothing to say. This man is out of ideas. He’s out of excuses. … It is immoral.”
Romney also said his goal is to get America on another path of a balanced budget by cutting funds from federal programs that he believes should be privately funded.
“I want to get rid of some programs and I mean a lot of them. Go through line by line and see if they are so critical they are worth borrowing money from China. First on the list is Obamacare. I am getting rid of the subsidies for Amtrak, and for the national endowment for the arts and humanities. I like those things, I just think they have to be paid for by private funds,” Romney said. “We send money every year to PBS so they don’t have to have advertising on Sesame Street. I like Sesame Street, but I like Big Bird and am willing to have him look at corn flakes from time to time. “
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Romney called Obamacare, has been effective since March 2010 and its intention is to increase health insurance coverage to Americans and lower Medicaid costs. The venture has a predicted cost of $78 billion by 2014.
Obama sought funds for Amtrak to make transportation more efficient across the country at a predicted cost of $53 billion over six years. Amtrak connects Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Port Huron to Chicago. Romney’s goals also covered conserving America’s energy security and decreasing dependence on foreign resources.
Romney said that he is not just looking to win the primary here, but wants to obtain the support his father had here.
Several supporters followed Romney, as well as a musical act. Then, Karger spoke. He handed out stickers, Frisbees and T-shirts.
“I am flattered now that Romney wanted in on this, and this is his home state. This is a must-win state for him. I have a little different strategy,” said Karger. “I concentrate my efforts on the 8th Congressional District. I am hoping to win here and hoping to win the three delegates from this area. Maybe he is a little concerned that he may not win the eighth.”
For Eaton County dentist Dennis Sullivan, attending the breakfast helped solidify his understanding of Romney’s campaign and what he stands for.
“There are a lot of things that Romney talked about today, that some people are completely unaware of and they just have no idea that things aren’t going on. I definitely think that he has done a really good job with his campaign here,” Sullivan said. “Before, his message was getting lost with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum and all the rah-rah, but now he is working hard to get it out there, which is serving well for the campaign.”