By Robert Cook
GOP frontrunner addresses Portsmouth Rotarians.
Mitt Romney told Portsmouth business leaders he loves what they do as much as he loves free enterprise and capitalism and, if elected President, he would strive to make those things power the U.S. economy again.
Romney made his first appearance in Portsmouth since he formally launched his bid for the White House at the Scamman Farm in Stratham in June. He was greeted at Redhook Ale Brewery at Pease International Tradeport by Stella Scamman.
Speaking at a Portsmouth Rotary Club luncheon on Wednesday afternoon, Romney stressed that his 25 years of business experience make him the most qualified candidate to lead America out of the current recession and back to being the envy of the world again.
"I like what you do," Romney told the 200 Rotarians. He said business people create jobs and value and, unlike the federal government, invest their profits back into their businesses to help them grow.
"I love capitalism. I love free enterprise," said Romney, who sported a casual white dress shirt and blue trousers instead of a business suit for the occassion.
Romney said high corporate business taxes, too much federal bureucracy and regulation, bad energy policy and an unlevel trade playing field have prevent free enterprise from working as well as it should for American businesses. He said free enterprise has also been the key to helping other nations overcome their challenges.
"Free enterprise is what lifted millions of people around the world out of poverty," said Romney, adding that even China has utilized some free enterprise principles to fuel its economy.
When Romney first arrived at Redhook, he told a member of the media that President Barack Obama has made the economy worse since he took office because "President Obama doesn't understand how the business sector works."
Following his remarks, Romney was asked how President Obama should deal with the loom debt crisis as Congress debates whether to raise the debt ceiling.
Romney said the President needs to cut spending right now and adopt a balanced budget amendment. "That would solve the debt ceiling problem."
While Romney stressed he would take such steps if he were in the Oval Office, he also said he would protect entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
"I want to keep them alive as programs, but I want to make them sustainable so they don't drain our economy," Romney said.
Romney also said he could be an effective facilitator who could bring Republicans and Democrats together to address the nation's most pressing issues as he did as Governor when he had to work with a Democratic Party-led Legislature.
One of the most important things needed to help America get back on the right track is that the American people need to elect true statespeople "who don't give a hoot about whether they get reelected," Romney said.
Romney said if he is elected President, he would be that type of leader who would strive to do what is best for the country and "keep America the hope of the world."