Republicans are going to win the Democratic stronghold of Pueblo, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney told a roaring crowd of Republicans on a runway next to Pueblo Memorial Airport.
After spending most of the 20-minute stump railing against President Barack Obama, Romney yelled into his microphone, "We're going to win Colorado! We're going to win Pueblo, big-time!"
Romney's upbeat prediction came after his campaign jet pulled up within a few hundred feet of the podium, to the delight of the 1,000-person crowd. The cheering supporters waved hand-held American flags.
The former Massachusetts blasted Obama over issues from the economy to foreign policy. He told the crowd he'll focus on five things as president -- energy, education, trade, taxes, and federal spending cuts.
He mocked the Obama campaign's motto of "Forward," and said, "I think 'forewarned' is a better example of what he would do."
Romney pointed to the skyrocketing national debt as an example of Obama's failings. He said that the debt has gone from $10 trillion to $16 trillion under the Democrat's watch and predicted that he would pile up $4 trillion more if re-elected.
"If you spend too much time in Washington, you get used to this idea of spending money you don't have," Romney told the crowd, which replied with nods and several shouts of "Amen!"
Romney avoided expected slams on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known to Republicans as "Obamacare," though most Republicans pledge to repeal the act. It was also cited by several attendees as one of the reasons they're voting Republican.
That's not to say Romney went easy on Obama. He ridiculed the President's now-famous misstep of saying, "You didn't build that," and said that businesses and "dreamers" are the ones who support the country.
Romney also pledged to protect defense spending.
"I will keep our military so strong that no one will think of testing it," he said.
Pueblo Republicans at the speech were "delighted" with the event, to quote one attendee.
"This was a thrill," said flight instructor Homer Nesmith, who works overseas to Iraqi air force pilots. "I'll be sending a video clip to some of my friends in Iraq. Eat your heart out, guys."
Nesmith and others said Romney's background as a successful businessman makes him the perfect person for the job.
"It brings us hope back that we've lost," said Barbara Osterman, a senior homecare provider. "Hope for people who've lost their jobs, and hope for people who are starting their own businesses."
Democrats responded with a rally at a Pueblo Steelworker's union office. The building was packed with pro-Obama campaign signs, with slogans such as "Mitt Romney: writing off the middle class," and "Veterans and Military families for Obama."
Josette Jaramillo, a representative of a government worker's union, referred to a recently released video that showed Romney saying he'd never win the votes of 47 percent of Americans.
"It's hard to be president of all the people when you write off half the people," Jaramillo said.
RYAN DUE IN WEDNESDAY
Romney's Republican running mate, Wisconsin's U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, is holding a Colorado Springs Rally Wednesday at America the Beautiful Park.
The rally starts at 6 p.m. with the crowd starting to arrive at 4 p.m.
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