(ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.) — Campaigning solo for the first time since naming his running mate, Mitt Romney on Monday came to the swing state of Florida, where he said the president “never got off the launch pad” with the promises he made to voters four years ago.
“When President Obama was candidate Obama he promised everyone in this country the moon, but he never got off the launch pad,” said Romney, speaking at an outside rally on a college campus. “And so we have a very different approach, I’m delighted to have picked as my running mate, Paul Ryan, a great leader. A man who has proven that he knows how to solve problems.”
Romney went on to boast of America’s accomplishments at the Olympics and in space.
“This, this is still the greatest nation on earth,” said Romney. “I know there are people around the world who are always critical of America, have something negative to say, say our greatest days are in the past. Baloney!”
“We just won more Olympic medals than any other nation on earth,” he said. “We also just, we just landed on Mars and took a good look at what’s going on there. And uh, I know the Chinese are planning on going to the moon, and I hope they have a good experience doing that, and I hope they stop in and take a look at our flag that was put there 43 years ago!”
Romney, who has seen some of his biggest crowds to date since picking Ryan, spoke to several hundred people in St. Augustine on Monday, while lots more waited outside the perimeter, unable to get cleared by security fast enough to make it to the event.
Touching on two major issues for Florida voters — Medicare and the housing market — Romney tailored his stump speech to discuss both, vowing that he and Ryan want to make sure they “preserve and protect” Medicare.
“To help small business we’ve also got to make sure we do a better job helping homebuilders and letting people stay in their homes,” said Romney, who vowed to decrease the number of regulations facing homeowners and banks.
“I’m going to go to work to help the housing market in Florida and across the country and the best thing I can do is to get people good jobs with rising incomes so we can buy homes again,” he said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN