By: Molly Ball
Las Vegas Review Journal
"While his rivals were campaigning in South Carolina, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in Las Vegas on Thursday, hoping that going against the grain by competing in Saturday's Nevada caucuses will soon make him look like the smart one.
"'I feel great about Nevada,' Romney said in an interview Thursday evening. 'You've got a lot of delegates and a lot of great people. The support I've received here is encouraging, and it's one more reason why I'm going to go on to get the nomination.'" ...
"Republicans, he said, will regret it if they don't work hard for the region.
"'We need the intermountain West to win the presidency,' he said. 'States like Nevada and Colorado are purple states. If you can't compete here in January, how will you compete in November?'"
"'You can't win them all. I'm not like the New England Patriots,' he said, referring to the NFL franchise that recently completed an undefeated regular season. 'But you can get delegates, and I'm working hard to get the delegates I need.'
"Romney on Thursday visited a Claim Jumper restaurant in Henderson, where he accepted the endorsement of state Sen. Joe Heck. In a brief, well-attended news conference, Romney noted that there are 34 delegates up for grabs in Nevada, versus 24 in South Carolina." ...
"Romney told the press, 'Washington is broken. Washington does not deal with the issues important to Nevadans,' such as health care, the economy and illegal immigration.
"He reiterated his stance on Yucca Mountain: 'I would do nothing that would put at risk the safety or well-being of the people of Nevada.' As before, he would not commit to stopping the proposed nuclear waste repository.
"Romney then worked the crowd in the restaurant, shaking hands and kissing babies – and doing a double take when one baby he picked up looked familiar and turned out to be his 1-year-old grandson."
"Joe Wyson, 51, the owner of a local paving company, told Romney he was grateful to have a candidate who supports small businesses.
"More than 600 supporters greeted Romney at his next stop, an industrial space near the Las Vegas Beltway and Decatur Boulevard. The huge room was almost too packed to move, and stiflingly hot as a result. The crowd spilled out of the room to fill a stairwell and a flight of stairs all the way to the ground floor.
"Romney took the stage with one of his five sons, Josh, who lives in Utah and has campaigned frequently for his father in Nevada. As the crowd chanted, 'Mitt! Mitt!' Josh joked, 'A little enthusiasm would be great, if you don't mind.'
"Former Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn, an early supporter, introduced Romney, also with a joke: 'With all the kids here with their parents and grandparents, I thought I was at a Hannah Montana concert!'
"Romney, taking the microphone, said, 'We thought it was just a warm state because of the temperature, but the warmth of your hearts has really made a difference in our lives.
"Picking up the Washington-is-broken theme, he said, 'They told us they were going to secure our borders, and they haven't. They told us they were going to cut taxes for middle-income families, and they haven't. They told us they were going to fix Social Security.'
"'And they haven't,' the crowd chanted with him as he also cited broken promises on education and health care." ...
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