Would-be GOP VP hopeful Romney crashes Democrats' party

Published August 27, 2008 12:00 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

DENVER -- Mitt Romney may or may not be Sen. John McCain's running mate, but he played the role Tuesday: dropping into enemy territory at the Democratic National Convention to lambaste Barack Obama and Joe Biden on a host of issues.

McCain may have more houses, but he earned them fairly, compared to Obama, Romney offered, alluding to the Democrat's much publicized ties to shady developer Tony Rezko.

He also said Obama, with assistance from Biden, has foreign policy credentials, but not good ones; and Obama's play for the West won't work when running against a Western senator.

"The people in the Intermountain West, as they focus on the issues they care about, recognize that Senator McCain is right for America and Barack Obama, well-meaning as he is, is simply wrong on the major issues," Romney said.

The former Massachusetts governor, who fought bitterly at points with McCain for the nomination, gave a full-throated defense of McCain's campaign and went on the offense against Obama's camp only a few miles from the Democrats' big show at the Pepsi Center.

Romney knew how many homes he owned -- "One less than John Kerry - that would be four," Romney said. He noted that McCain may have four houses he uses, (he rents out some other homes) but said his family earned them, while Obama got a "special deal from a convicted felon" to buy his home.

The allegation that Rezko helped Obama purchase the home is disputed by the Democrat and the non-partisan FactCheck.Org says Obama paid market value for it.

While shying away from questions about his prospects for the GOP vice presidential spot, Romney threw out a litany of reasons that adding Biden to the Democratic ticket was a bad idea. Biden may have 30 years of foreign policy experience, but he's "usually" been wrong, Romney said.

"His record of being wrong on foreign policy is as long as his years in foreign policy," Romney charged.

And Romney balked at being labeled a "job killer" by Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe.

"I'm a little surprised that the truth is one of the first casualties of the Obama new politics campaign," Romney said, dropping into a recounting of his resume that includes running a venture capital fund, Massachusetts government and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

He acknowledged some of his business ventures went well, while others foundered.

"I'm pleased with the successes and aware also of the shortcomings," Romney said.

Reviving a theme from his presidential bid, Romney dismissed a question about whether his Mormon faith would hinder his chances of joining McCain's ticket. Despite hesitancy by some Protestant evangelicals to vote for a Mormon candidate, Romney said most Americans don't base their vote on race, gender or religion.

But, he added, "I'm not in any way trying to promote my qualifications or to dissuade others of my qualifications for the McCain ticket," Romney said.

He did, however, play the humble card and concede that while he ran a good campaign, McCain was the better candidate.

"I thought I'd be a stronger nominee than he, but guess what, he proved right."

Massachusetts State Democratic Chairman John Walsh said he is salivating at the potential for Romney to be the vice presidential nominee and face Biden in debates.

"As governor, Mitt Romney kept us out of war with New Hampshire," Walsh said. "That is the extent of his foreign policy experience. I will concede that, but I'm not sure that's enough."

Walsh also chuckles at the thought of Romney advising McCain on economic issues, pointing out that while Romney served as governor, Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job growth and now ranks eighth since he left.

"John McCain has already said he doesn't understand this economic stuff, so maybe when he looks at Massachusetts' economy under Mitt Romney, he thinks that's fundamentally sound."



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