Romney feels 'at home' back in Michigan
Gary Heinlein / The Detroit News
EAST GRAND RAPIDS -- Mitt Romney started his pre-primary Michigan drive in staunchly Republican western Michigan, shaking hands in a trendy shopping village before conducting a town hall meeting.
His mission is to avert a third second-place finish in the state-by-state presidential selection process by winning the state his dad once governed.
"This is the place I feel comfortable, the place I feel welcome and the place I feel at home," he told a crowd while standing on a chair in a brick plaza outside a restaurant in East Grand Rapids' Gaslight Village. "And the place I feel absolutely confident is going to launch me in my bid for the presidency."
Harvard-educated Romney was Massachusetts' governor and away from here since high school. But he counts on a favorite-son-style reception to bolster his candidacy and award him a badly needed win in a populous state.
He followed John McCain into Grand Rapids today. Both plan extensive campaigning in Michigan prior to the Tuesday primary election.
Those in the Romney gathering included 59-year-old Ray James of Alto. James, a real estate broker and adjunct professor for Kellogg Community College, wanted Mitt to sign his biography of ex-Gov. George Romney, Mitt's father.
"Looking at the field, I believe he has the best background of education and experience," James said. "We have a tradition of picking former governors, and when you look at his resume, he's right there."
Michael and Terry Torsky, who ran a Cedarville resort in the Upper Peninsula before retiring, also are Romney followers.
"All this business the press makes of him flip-flopping: if a person never changes their views on anything, I think they're too static," Terry Torsky said. "We don't understand all the bad publicity. We're not fooled."
Romney said Michigan's "one-state recession" is "just not right" and promised he would do something about it as president.
Check out "Michiganders for Romney"