Romney’s son campaigns for dad in Vancouver

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

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With 12 days left before the state’s Republican precinct caucuses, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s son Josh Romney made a stop in Vancouver on Monday morning to campaign for his father.

Romney’s campaign staff stressed the importance of the precinct caucuses on March 3 and encouraged the roughly 100 people in attendance to get others involved in the caucuses. The Washington state caucuses are the last caucus or primary event in the nation before so-called “Super Tuesday” on March 6, when 10 states will weigh in on who should receive the Republican presidential nomination.

On March 3, “all eyes will be on Washington,” Romney campaign staff member Scott Scheid told the crowd at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver.

Josh Romney told attendees that his father, a businessman and the former governor of Massachusetts, has a better chance of beating President Barack Obama than the other Republicans in the race. Josh Romney also talked on a personal level about his dad, describing him as an energetic leader.

“My dad’s my hero,” Josh Romney said. “For my dad, this is not another stepping stone. This is not something he needs.”

Before serving as Massachusetts’ governor, Mitt Romney was chief executive officer of Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm, and he co-founded Bain Capital, an investment holding company. He also was president and CEO of the Olympic Games’ 2002 Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

Romney’s largest share of disclosed campaign contributions come from those in the banking industry, according to the government watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.

Josh Romney said his dad’s business experience helped him balance troubled budgets while working with the Olympic games and as a governor. He also said his father wants to repeal Obama’s health care plan and repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform laws. Although Dodd-Frank was developed with good intentions, it harms the economy and small banks in particular, Josh Romney said after his speech.

Josh Romney told the audience that his dad “without question” will win the GOP nomination, and “a small number of people can have a big impact” in the caucuses.

Following Romney’s talk, Scheid told the crowd how they could help drum up support for Mitt Romney on March 3. They should encourage 10 friends or family members to support Romney in the caucuses, and they should volunteer to make campaign phone calls for Romney, Scheid said.

Romney is running for the Republican nomination against Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.

Paul hosted a rally on Thursday evening at the Hilton Vancouver Washington and drew a crowd of more than 1,500 people. After speaking on Monday morning, Josh Romney opened the event to questions from the audience. Some praised Romney for his business know-how, while one woman called him the establishment candidate.

Amelia Endorf of Vancouver asked whether Romney planned to make cuts to Veterans Affairs and said Vietnam War veterans need more support from the government.

“We have to take better care of our veterans,” Josh Romney replied, adding that his father wants to increase the military budget. He also directed Endorf to Romney’s campaign website for more information.

According to the campaign website, Romney has expressed an interest in keeping government commitments made to servicemen and women once they return home.

Endorf, a self-described undecided voter in her 50s, also attended Paul’s Thursday rally. Following the Romney event, she said still didn’t know which candidate she would support in the caucuses.

She also still wanted more information about where the candidates stand on veteran care.

“It’s time someone starts asking the hard questions about vets,” she said.

Josh Romney lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and five children. He campaigns often for his father and visited all 99 counties in Iowa leading up to that state’s 2008 caucus. During the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney lost in Iowa to Santorum by a narrow margin.

Romney has often been the frontrunner in the 2012 race for the GOP nomination, and Santorum appears to be his most threatening challenger at the moment, according to recent polls.

Josh Romney planned to make several stops around the state on Monday, including one to open a Romney campaign office in Bellevue. Mitt Romney will visit Bellevue on March 1, but his campaign has yet to announce any other stops he might make in Washington.

Romney has received endorsements from U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, and state Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver.