“I will not divide the American people. I believe fundamentally we are one nation under God,” Romney said.
Romney, the front-running GOP candidate for the U.S. presidency, served as the keynote speaker for the Franklin County (Pa.) Republican Committee’s Lincoln Day Dinner about 36 hours before polls open for the state’s primary election.
Speaking at Green Grove Gardens near Greencastle, Romney promised to tell the truth, bolster the military, rely on his private-sector background and acknowledge his failures from the Oval Office.
“That’s what we want!” a man shouted from the audience.
Dinner attendees interrupted the candidate’s 30 minutes of remarks several times for laughter at the jokes he offered and applause for the positions they support.
Romney largely focused on comments President Obama made four years ago about how progress is measured. Those measurements included good jobs that can pay mortgages, rising incomes and new business start-ups.
“Measuring him by the very measures he established, he’s been a failed president,” Romney said.
On his own list of how he will measure progress, Romney said he would include the number of people on public welfare or falling into poverty, foreclosures and home values.
There are 24 million Americans who are out of work, stopped looking for work or are seriously unemployed, he said.
“This is (Obama’s) record of extreme failure at home. Then, there were failures overseas,” Romney said, saying the president is standing by as Iran rushes to become a nuclear nation.
Romney lamented the United States being on an economic path similar to Greece’s because of spending increasing $1 trillion a year. He said 38 percent of the economy is consumed by local, state and federal government.
“This president, he’s traveling down (a path) where government gets larger and larger, and metastasizes its way into American life. ... In 2012, we need to make sure we put him out of office,” he said.
Obama says he inherited the recession, Romney said.
“It is true he did not cause the recession, but he did not (make) things better. The things he has done have not helped,” Romney said.
“Hopefully, we’re going to see job numbers improve, but it’s not because of the stimulus. It’s in spite of the stimulus,” he said.
Romney accused Obama of bowing to labor chief executive officers and ignoring “below-the-ground” natural resources like coal, oil and natural gas. Romney said he wants to build the American military because it “is the best ally peace has ever known.”
“This is a critical time for America. It’s a real question about what road we’re going to go down,” he said.
Other speakers at the event included U.S. Senate candidates, Pennsylvania attorney general and auditor general candidates, and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.
Romney stayed in a back room before his 7 p.m. speech and left shortly after he finished his remarks. He took pictures with the people seated at the head table, but did not greet others in the crowd.