Romney expansive during visit

The town hall in Grand Junction provided Mitt Romney the chance to make some of his most extensive remarks of the campaign since he became the de facto Republican nominee.

Here are some of the highlights:

On the media: “We are fortunate that the American people get their news from a larger and larger array of outlets,” Romney said. “People find sources that they find to be most reliable. We’re able to communicate broadly with the American people, and not just through one or two networks.”

On the military: A questioner, who said he was a military contractor, lamented that too much military equipment is foreign-made.

“I absolutely believe that American can make the best products in the world,” Romney said, saying he would put in place policies that help American manufacturers, specifically by lowering energy costs.

He added that military equipment worn out in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan needs to be replaced.

“It seems to be the one place the president’s comfortable cutting, is our military spending,” Romney said. “I will take ship-building from nine per year up to 15 per year. I will buy more aircraft. I would add 100,000 active-duty personnel to our military ranks, and I will make sure our veterans get the care they so richly deserve.”

On the vice president: Romney would not say when he would choose a vice presidential pick, or even if it would be before the Republican National Convention in late August.

On federal mandates: Romney said he would give states grants of money for health care for the poor, housing vouchers and food assistance and let the states administer the programs without federal requirements.

“My experience as to what it means to be poor in Massachusetts is different than Montana or Mississippi, and I’ve got to look to legislators and governors in those other states to decide what’s the best way to provide care for those that need the care.”

On life sentences for juveniles: Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger condemned a decision from the high court last month that disallowed life sentences for people who committed crimes as juveniles. Hautzinger secured a life sentence against a 17-year-old for a double murder. Romney said it was another issue on which people of good faith can disagree, but he did not say whether the Mesa County teen should have gotten a life sentence.

“I’ll look at that particular case. But I’m somebody who comes down on the side of swift and severe punishment for those that commit those crimes,” Romney said.

jhanel@durangoherald.com