Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a Values Voter Summit address heavy on foreign policy and economic issues today, declining to pay lip service to the social conservatism that animates much of his audience.
“The uncertainty and the lack of predictability that [Obama] created has caused businesses to shirk from spending… he hasn’t helped end the crisis. He made it deeper, longer [and] more painful,” said Romney, leading his rhetorical charge against the President’s policies. “This is the first time in our history that government has declared war on free enterprise. And they are wrong.”
Romney slammed the president for creating a business climate that is inhospitable to growth and recovery. Among Romney’s criticisms of Obama was the latter’s decision to: raise taxes on small business, push cap and trade, stall free trade agreements, hand GM to the UAW, and takeover the health care system.
“Instead of focusing on the economy, [Obama] used the crisis as a cover to push his liberal agenda: from cap and trade to his ill-conceived takeover of American health care,” said the former Massachusetts Governor. But this is not without consequences, said Mitt Romney. “America will repudiate Obama-style liberalism.”
Shifting his sights to the Obama administration’s foreign policy, Romney condemned the President’s ‘engagement’ policy:
Under [Obama’s] engagement policy, North Korea has tested nuclear weapons, launched long-range missiles, and sunk a South Korean ship. Iran has funded Yemini insurgents, armed terrorists, and… accelerated its nuclear program. He gave Russia… [the abandonment] of our Eastern Europe missile defense sites. And in return, he got nothing. He actually insulted our best friend in the Middle East, Israel.
A theme is starting to emerge at the Value Voter Summit: the resurrection of George W. Bush. Romney reinforced Pence’s earlier comments (Pence called Bush “our courageous Commander in Chief” and credited him for success in Iraq) by praising the preferences “and the courage of George W. Bush”, to loud applause.
Notably, Romney touched upon social conservative values only once, and only briefly. “This room is filled every year with citizens, modern patriots, who are passionate about America’s values. These values include the sanctity of life and the preservation of marriage,” Romney said before segueing back towards domestic economic policy.
The mood of the room reflected a disconnect between the speaker and his audience. Romney drew fewer cheers than probably any other big name speaker at this conference so far. The biggest applause was reserved for Romney’s brief mention of marriage and the sanctity of life, and absent a few lines praising America’s entrepreneurial and creative spirit, the crowd largely stayed quiet.
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