Reporting Pat Kessler
EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) — A day after his victory in Florida, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney brought his campaign to Minnesota just five days before our state’s caucuses.
Romney received an enthusiastic welcome during his first campaign visit to Minnesota. And today’s appearance in Eagan was very eventful.
Romney is fresh off a big win in the Forida presidential primary. And after the bruising campaign in the Sunshine State, he said he’s hoping Minnesota’s next.
Romney did not mention his Republican rivals — training his fire on President Obama, whom he called “out of touch and out of time.”
“We elected President Obama to lead. He chose to follow, and now it’s time for him to get out of the way,” Romney said. “We need leadership. We need leadership in this country, and we don’t have it now in our president.”
He also accused Obama of not understanding reality.
“Is he so detached from reality? Does he just not understand what’s going on in America? Does he not understand how hard it is for people to make ends meet in this country?,” he said. “I will stay in touch with the American people. And I will lead us back to prosperity.”
Before Romney addressed the crowd, he conducted an interview with WCCO-TV — and tried to repair damage from comments he made Wednesday morning.
After his Florida win, he said he “doesn’t care very much about the poor” because they have a safety net.
“Sometimes things don’t come out exactly the way you’d like them to. That’s not exactly what I meant to say,” he said. “My focus is on middle-income Americans. We do have a safety net for the very poor and I said if there are holes in it I want to correct that. I’m not terribly concerned about the wealthy, they are doing quite well.”
Romney’s attempting to fire up the troops for next Tuesday’s Minnesota caucuses, which he won convincingly in 2008.
In 2012, he’s facing much tougher opposition but said the bruising Florida campaign is helping him prepare.
The former New Hampshire governor drew cheers with a rendition of America the Beautiful during his speech.
As he walked into the rally, Romney was glittered by a protester in the crowd, who had made his way to a security barrier near the stage.
Romney laughed it off, thanking Minnesota for celebrating his primary win in Florida with “confetti.”
“I’ve got glitter in my hair. That’s not all that’s in my hair, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “I glue it on every morning, whether I need to or not.”
The protester who threw glitter at Romney said on Twitter that he’s part of Occupy Minnesota, and a gay rights group called Glitterati.
He said he shouted “feel the rainbow” as Romney passed by. (Watch the video)
Even though Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul say they are not getting out of the race, Democrats are treating Romney as the presumptive nominee.
But he may have trouble in Minnesota next week, even if he wins, Republicans here may be supporting more conservative candidates.
Mitt Romney Hits MN After Winning Florida Primary