Thursday, December 14, 2017
Politics

In Sarasota, Mitt Romney promises he'll bring change to Washington

SARASOTA — Pundits and conservatives in Washington may be second-guessing Mitt Romney's campaign, but there was no sign of skepticism in Sarasota on Thursday.

At least 4,000 people braved 90-degree heat on the grounds of the Ringling Museum of Art to cheer the Republican nominee, who promised that, unlike President Barack Obama, he can usher bipartisanship into Washington.

"We face a Washington that's broken, that can't get the job done. The president today threw in the white flag of surrender again: He said he can't change Washington from inside, he can only change it from outside," Romney said, referring to a comment Obama made earlier Thursday in Miami, suggesting that major change only comes to Washington when the American people are mobilized and demand it.

"I can change Washington, I will change Washington," Romney said, scoffing at Obama. "We'll get the job done from the inside. Republicans and Democrats will come together. He can't do it. His slogan was 'Yes, we can.' His slogan is now 'No, I can't.' This is time for a new president. He went from the president of change to the president who can't get change."

The day highlighted how much in play Florida is. Romney concluded a two-day swing through the state with fundraising receptions in Sarasota, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, while Obama hit Miami before a fundraiser in Tampa. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is scheduled to hold rallies Saturday in Orlando and Miami, and the pace of visits will only increase as November approaches.

Anyone hoping that recent criticism would produce a new, bolder Romney would have been disappointed by his 18-minute Sarasota speech.

The former Massachusetts governor mostly repeated vague goals of improving education, helping small business, getting a grip on the deficit and expanding trade and energy production.

But among the throngs of people feverishly fanning themselves with "Defeat Obama" and "Romney-Ryan" fans, pessimism about Romney was scarce.

Nancy and Alan Arnold of Sarasota follow the campaign closely and don't see that Romney's in any danger.

"I don't think he ever got off track," said Nancy Arnold, 62.

"I think he has to define a little more what he was talking about in the welfare state," said Alan Arnold. "He needs to talk more about creating an environment for business to thrive."

Alan attributes polls showing Obama inching ahead to the convention bounce.

"That would have to happen," he said. "It always does."

Recent polls show Obama narrowly leading Romney nationally, as well as in the key battleground states. In Sarasota, Romney fans weren't buying it.

"I don't think it's true," said Dave Carter, a retired pharmacist from Longboat Key. "I think there's going to be a landslide against Obama."

Dave Carter, 66, said he thinks Romney is still losing the personality contest.

"He's got to get people to — unfortunately — like him as a person. Play the game that Obama plays," he said.

Alison Denboggende, 42, a homemaker who lives in Lakewood Ranch, said she thinks the numbers will turn in Romney's favor when undecided voters hear his message.

"I think they're waiting for the debates," she said.

Romney again criticized the president for using more than $700 billion in reduced Medicare spending to help pay for the Affordable Care Act.

"I hope the people of Florida understand this: He cut Medicare by $716 billion, and if I'm president of the United states, we're going to put that $716 billion back into Medicare, back into the care of our seniors," Romney said.

He neglected to mention that his running mate supported the same reductions to the growth in Medicare spending, and that without that reduction, Medicare would be insolvent by 2016, rather than 2024.

Romney noted the few dozen protesters outside the event.

"I love a few protesters — not too many, but a few — and they had signs that said, 'Four more years,' " Romney said.

"If I'd had had a little more time I would have said, 'Do you really want four more years where only half the college graduates can get a job or a job consistent with a college degree? You want four more years with 23 million people out of work or underemployed? You want four more years where incomes go down every single year? You want four more years with gas prices doubling?"

Comments
Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Nationally, the word "evangelical" has become in recent years nearly synonymous with "conservative Republican" and Alabama is one of the most evangelical states in the country. But in Alabama, there is a difference: black Christians.While in many par...
Published: 12/13/17
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Wednesday to fill fellow Democrat Al Franken’s Senate seat until a special election in November, setting up his longtime and trusted adviser for a potentially bruising 2018...
Published: 12/13/17
Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Still-uncounted ballots are unlikely to change the outcome of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama enough to spur an automatic recount, the state’s election chief said Wednesday as Democratic victor Doug Jones urged Republican Roy Moore...
Published: 12/13/17
Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

The Democrats’ seismic victory Tuesday in the unlikely political battleground of Alabama brought jubilation — and a sudden a rush of confidence — to a party that has been struggling to gain its footing since Donald Trump won the presidency 13 months ...
Published: 12/13/17
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Published: 12/12/17
Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping defense policy bill that authorizes a $700 billion budget for the military, including additional spending on missile defense programs to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear w...
Published: 12/12/17
Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has asked the House Intelligence Committee to open an investigation into leaked information related to his closed interview with the committee last week."To maintain the credibility of the in...
Published: 12/12/17
Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

WASHINGTON -— It’s the lock that launched a two-year investigation and took down a president. And now more than four decades later — and for a starting bid of $50,000 — it can be a really wonky conversation piece.Nate D. Sanders Auctions will auction...
Published: 12/12/17
Democrats say Trump’s tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

Democrats say Trump’s tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

WASHINGTON — Plowing into the sexual harassment debate in a big way, President Donald Trump laced into Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday, tweeting that the New York Democrat would come to his office "begging" for campaign contributions and "do anyth...
Published: 12/12/17
Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — National political leaders, a Hollywood actress and a retired basketball star made last-ditch efforts to woo voters in the Alabama Senate race Monday, as the candidates gave their final arguments in a pivotal special election that ...
Published: 12/12/17