ARLINGTON — Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney dropped in at a barbecue restaurant on Thursday, taking jabs at President Obama for his economic and healthcare policies and newly espoused stance on a Palestinian state.
Romney also heaped praised on Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom commentator Rush Limbaugh has been advancing as a candidate for president in 2012.
"He's done a heck of a job," Romney said of Perry, citing the state's tax and regulation-friendly environment. "The rest of the country could learn a lot of lessons from Governor Perry."
Romney drew an enthusiastic mid-afternoon crowd at Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q off Interstate 20 in Arlington, after local Republican groups publicized the appearance over the weekend.
Dressed down in blue jeans and button-down shirt, he reeled off a string of one-liners, signed autographs, and posed for pictures before sitting down to a $9 lunch of a pulled pork sandwich, cole slaw, and beans with several of the restaurant's managers.
Romney accused Obama of having "thrown our ally Israel under the bus" after Obama on Thursday laid out his vision for the Middle East, including a future Palestinian state based on borders in place prior to the Six-Day War of 1967, in which Israel seized the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
"You stand by your friends," Romney said, drawing one of several ovations.
Romney also poked fun at Obama's handling of the economy, telling the crowd "it helps if you've had a job."
Romney, who has drawn skepticism from some conservatives for having passed a broad healthcare law when he was governor of Massachusetts, maintained that was the right move.
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