By Cassandra Balfour, For the Daily
Published October 29, 2012
GRAND RAPIDS — In the final sprint to Election Day, Ann Romney took the stage at the Romney campaign’s office here Monday afternoon to rally for her husband, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and showcase her Michigan roots.
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Romney was received by raucous applause at the office, which was filled with GOP supporters eager to hear Romney share her husband’s message that though the clock is ticking, there is still time “to save the country.” With recent polls indicating that President Barack Obama has a slight lead in Michigan, Romney implored the crowd to help the campaign bridge the gap in the days leading up to Nov. 6.
Romney, a native of Bloomfield Hills, emphasized her ties to Michigan during her address, at one point holding up her hand in the quintessential symbol of the Mitten State. Earlier in the day, she was in Traverse City and spent Sunday night at Comerica Park in Detroit watching the Detroit Tigers play in the World Series.
“You can’t believe all the people I run into across the country who show me their hand. All the fingers, thank goodness,” Romney joked.
She reassured the crowd that Mitt Romney not only embodies the qualities necessary for a strong president, which he demonstrated during the debates, but is a man of good character.
Ann Romney told the crowd that they should look to “quiet, undocumented” moments in order to size up Mitt Romney’s character, citing the time he befriended a 14-year-old boy named David with terminal cancer.
“The last request David made of Mitt after developing this extraordinary friendship with him was: ‘Mitt, would you please give the eulogy at my funeral?’” Romney said. “That’s the kind of character of the person who is going to be sitting in the Oval Office.”
For the Romney campaign, the western part of the state could prove important in gaining Republican voters. Though Obama won Michigan by nearly 17 percent in 2008, the southwest region of the state near Grand Rapids typically votes heavily Republican. U.S. Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.) won in 6 of the 7 counties surrounding Grand Rapids by up to a 30 percent margin in the 2008 presidential election.
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.), who is seeking re-election in Michigan’s 3rd district, and former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R–Mich.), who is the GOP candidate running against U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D–Mich.) for the U.S. Senate, took the stage before Romney and emphasized the importance of the upcoming election.
Amash and Hoekstra, both University alums, fired up the crowd, stressing the need to unseat Obama.
“I’ve been watching President Obama closely since he’s been in office, and it’s been a disaster, as most of you know,” Amash said. “And I’ve got to tell you that he is, by far, the worst president we’ve had in my lifetime, and I had nine months of Jimmy Carter.”
Amash, who works on the House Budget Committee in Washington, focused on the importance of balancing the budget.
Hoekstra — who formally served on the House Intelligence Committee — discussed his frustrations with Obama’s foreign policy record, specifically alluding to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“We look at Libya, and we see four Americans who were brutally murdered,” Hoekstra said. “Not because of some stupid movie that Americans published, but because radical jihadists saw an opportunity — they saw a weak America and decided to take advantage of it.”
Hoekstra also denounced Stabenow for “squeezing America’s pocketbooks” and asked the crowd to work tirelessly in the next week leading up to Election Day.
“There is an enthusiasm that is not being measured by the polls … people are waking up and saying, we’re taking our country back and we’re taking it back now,” Romney said. “A wave — it’s happening, and you can feel it in every room we go in; you can see it in the eye of every person you meet.”