By DANNY VALENTINE
Cedar Rapids, Ia. — A Boy Scout-led recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer set the stage for former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s family-values appearance at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Saturday in Cedar Rapids.
Romney stressed his core beliefs in a strong military, a strong economy and strong families to rally Iowans for what he hopes will be an important victory in the Ames Straw Poll in August.
“I am in it whole hog, as they say in Iowa,” he said, adding that leading Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Rudy Giuliani were wrong to pull out of the event. “I wonder why they are making that big mistake? I think I know now — just look at the size of this room.
”Romney lead the Republican field in Iowa, beating out the next-closest candidate, McCain, by 12 percent, according to a Des Moines Register poll in May.
With anecdotes about his five children and help from his wife, Ann, who helped introduce him, Romney discussed family values to paint an optimistic picture of the future.
“Family-oriented American people, God-fearing people who love liberty, who will sacrifice for liberty, that is the source of America’s strength,” said Romney.
“It always has been, it always will be.”
Frequently throughout the event, Romney cited former President Ronald Reagan to emphasize his views on reducing government spending and the importance of using the private market.
This belief was especially poignant when he discussed modifying America’s health care system. “We don’t want to have government go in and take over health care, we don’t want socialized medicine, we don’t want ‘Hillary care,’” he said.
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