It is rather rare for candidates (Particularly GOP candidates) to visit the state, our votes are reliably democratic and Mitt Romney the former governor is a candidate, it might be considered an unorthodox strategy.
It was very clear right from the start that Gov Roemer is a master pol, although arriving slightly late he went from table to table. He made it a point to visit every table and actually take time to talk to people. A photographer from the Sentinel and Enterprise foll wed him around chronicling the event.
After a short introduction from John Weston of WCRN Buddy got to it. He thanked his Massachusetts coordinator and got right to it talking about his time both in Congress and his early days as Governor of Louisiana
He talked about budges and said that this one CAN be balanced
He raised a point about moving jobs overseas and approached it from an environmental standpoint, noting our standards are much higher than China, but stressed that this was due to Big Money in politics noting that we allow companies to deduct foreign taxes from their US taxes. (provision 27a)
Jobs was his primary message and he drove it home.
And then he answered question after question after question (too many to post them all here, I’ll include them over the next several days with individual posts on each question. He peppered answers with a bit of folksy talk but directly answered the questions and wasn’t afraid to take positions not always supported by the GOP.
The most dramatic moment was near the end with former Congressional Candidate and WCRN weekend host Tom Wesley got up and directly wrote a $100 check for the governor (the max he will take) and challenged others to do the same. Quite a few people there followed that example. When everything was done I interviewed the Governor.
Roemer is yet another appealing candidate in a field full of appealing candidates, his determination to take no more than $100 from anyone, and his old fashioned economic populism combined with practical fiscal answers on both the jobs and the budget certainly won over a lot of the crowd, many former democrats like himself. In fact it seems to me his message was not that different from the conservative democrats of the 70’s that were so appealing to me. Can he pull it off, several people doubted he could, his strategy seems to be to keep himself in play long enough in play to move forward. Will slow and steady win the race? We will find out but I’ll tell you this, by focusing on Massachusetts tonight he may have won over an untapped batch of activists who are only a 30 minute drive from the New Hampshire border and THAT’s smart.
Update: My piece for the examiner on the appearance can be found here.