Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- who largely avoided campaigning in Iowa before the January caucuses -- spoke like a native son Wednesday morning.
To the hundreds in the Central Campus auditorium in Des Moines to hear the presumptive Republican presidential candidate speak, Romney called Iowa "a second home." He expressed concern for the drought conditions in the Midwest and mentioned the recent shooting in Wisconsion.
His visit comes 89 days left until the election. in June, Romney has more wooing to do to lock up the swing state.
Seventy-four percent of influential state Republicans surveyed say they agree that Romney will defeat Obama in Iowa in November, but only 41 percent feel strongly about the GOP’s chances for recapturing the White House.
And a new ABC News-Washington Post poll out this morning shows that more Americans have an unfavorable view of him than favorable. An area of weakness is among independent voters, the poll said.
Among all independents, Obama’s favorability rating is now 16 points higher than Romney’s (53 percent vs. 37 percent), the ABC News-Washington Post poll shows. At the same time, that narrows among independents who are registered to vote – 46 percent favorable for Obama, 38 percent for Romney.
Romney quickly moved to attack President Obama's policies Wednesday, including his frequent criticism of the country's debt.
"I don't know how any of you can vote for a Democrat," Romney said. "(This president's) policies are putting in debt obligations that will still be there when I'm long gone. … It's not just bad economics. I think it's just immoral for us to spend money."
Romney moved through his five points dedicated toward improving life for the middle class, also known as "The Romney Plan" during the speech.
His first point revolved around taking advantage of America's energy resources.
"Wind, solar, we've got to take advantage of them," Romney said. "...Manufacturing is going to want to come back here because of the low cost, abundant energy."
The plug for wind energy is important in Iowa, where wind farms are being built and where a wind turbine company, TPI, has taken over the manufacturing space once used by Maytag.
According to the Huffington Post, Romney's presidential campaign has been savaging what it calls President Barack Obama's "unhealthy" obsession with "green jobs." The Republican challenger has cited a European study to argue that new solar or wind-energy positions would destroy jobs elsewhere.
But when a campaign spokesman said last week that Congress should let a tax break for wind energy producers expire at the end of the year, Republican Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, noted that nearly 7,000 Iowans work in the wind industry, the website reportd. Latham criticized the Romney campaign for "a lack of full understanding of how important the wind energy tax credit is for Iowa and our nation."
At Wednesday's Des Moines event, Latham seemed to have forgiven Romney on wind energy, or overlooked the remarks.
Latham took to the podium, calling Romney a man who said that "every road to the White House runs through Iowa."
"I will tell you the most critical element that we need for the change in this country is to have a president that understands the Constitution," Latham said.
Romney's second point addressed education, and arming students with the skills to succeed in the world.
"I want to make sure that our adults and kids have the skills to succeed," Romney said. "What happens here at Central Campus is that young people are able to come here and get skills that let them get the jobs they have today."
Romney's third point involved trade with other countries. He expressed an interest in trading with Latin American countries, since they share the same hemisphere.
"But we're not going to trade with (those countries) that cheat," Romney said. "We're not going to let them run over us and steal our jobs."
Romney's fourth point involved cutting the deficit. When he pledged to get rid of Obamacare, the audience gave a standing ovation.
"If Obamacare were allowed to stand, you're going to see insurance premiums skyrocket, and America is not going to stand for that," Romney said.
Romney's final point centered around the idea that small businesses must be championed and businesses need less regulation.
"My priority is more jobs and more take home pay, so I want to help do that. So how do I do that? I want to make sure the tax rates aren't raised, and the president would raise that."
Rob Taylor, who is running for the Iowa House District 44 seat from Dallas County, told the audience why he would be voting for Mitt Romney.
"Why Mitt Romney? I believe he's running for the same reasons that I am. He's a business man. He's a family man.
"I want a president who can run the country in the same manner that Mitt Romney ran the Salt Lake City Olympics," Taylor said.
A new text alert system was also introduced at the event. The next time Romney is in town, you can get the latest updates by texting "IA" to 466488.