Romney tells Missouri crowd he can beat Obama

The Kansas City StarMarch 14, 2012 

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney used a beautiful springlike day Tuesday to tell Missourians they should reject President Barack Obama in November.

“He has failed. He’s not a bad guy. He just is over his head,” the former Massachusetts governor told a crowd of several hundred at William Jewell College in Liberty.

Romney made the short appearance as part of a campaign push before the Missouri Republican caucuses scheduled for Saturday. He campaigned earlier in the day near St. Louis.

Romney criticized Obama for his support of cuts in defense spending, for the health care reform bill and for his proposal to raise taxes on high-earners.

He did not mention his Republican opponents by name nor talk about Tuesday’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, but said, “I’m the one guy in the race who can beat Barack Obama.”

Despite that optimism, Romney may have some work to do in persuading Missouri Republicans that he should be their nominee. In February’s nonbinding GOP primary in Missouri, rival Rick Santorum carried every county in the state.

After the rally, former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri, who introduced Romney, called that vote an exhibition game.

“I’m not underestimating (Santorum) or Newt (Gingrich) or Ron Paul,” Talent said. “I just don’t think it was representative of where Missouri voters are.”

A strong performance in the caucuses would help the front-runner dispel suspicions that he is not popular in the South or Midwest.

Romney was warmly received by the Liberty audience, which filled part of the quadrangle in front of John Gano Memorial Chapel.

After the speech, Romney shook hands and posed for photos with those in the crowd.

“I liked it. I want to get rid of Obama,” said Tom Hart of Kearney.

Bob Welch of Excelsior Springs said he would cast his vote for Romney at the Saturday caucus.

“Other candidates have some good points, but like he said, he’s the one who can win,” Welch said.

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