Dale Rodebaugh/Durango Herald
Dale Rodebaugh/Durango Herald
An eager crowd of about 30 to 40 supporters, including La Plata County Commissioner Kellie Hotter, waited in the Town Plaza Shopping Center parking lot late Sunday morning for the arrival of the Mitt Romney campaign bus.
When the bus arrived, the group cheered and applauded, but the real cheers came when the two main occupants of the bus gave their speeches.
“We want our country back,” Hotter said before introducing the first guest speaker, state Rep. Ray Scott.
Scott, a Grand Junction Republican, said President Barack Obama has majority support in only three counties in Colorado, and the Romney campaign wants to make sure the rest go for their candidate.
He also asked how many people felt they are better off today than three years ago when President Obama took office, and how many felt their children would be better off. The crowd responded negatively.
“This is an important election,” Scott said.
He then introduced the fiery speaker of the event, state Sen. Steve King, who represents Mesa and Garfield Counties.
“Colorado is not going to be a fly-over state,” Sen. King said, referring to the fact that Colorado plays an important role in this year’s election as a swing state.
He cited the “$16 trillion deficit” and what he called the failed stimulus legislation as just two reasons to vote for Gov. Romney instead of Obama.
King said that “$87 billion went to shovel-ready Bridge to Nowhere” projects.
Romney targeted Obama in May for $150,000 for repair of a 19th-century New Hampshire stone bridge, now part of a park development project. The funds come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, The Recovery Act has an estimated cost of about $830 billion through 2019.
The Bridge to Nowhere that was part of the 2008 campaign would have been built in Gravina, Alaska, and was expected to cost about $398 million before the item was removed from earmarks. The proposal for the Alaska bridge was made as an “earmark” proposal from Republican Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and Republican Rep. Don Young during the Bush administration.
King also said under Obama, the “full faith and credit” of the country was downgraded and there have been 42 months of unemployment above 8 percent. That 2011 credit downgrade by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) resulted from what that organization called unstable politics in Washington, D.C., according to Reuters news service. That instability was caused by budget squabbles between the president and Democratic legislators on one side, and Republican senators and congressmen on the other, S&P said.
King called on the crowd to oust Obama.
“Don’t be a sunshine patriot,” he said.
But La Plata County Democratic Party Chairwoman Denise Bohemier said the Republicans are blaming the president for what started in the Bush administration.
“It’s hard to undo eight years in three,” she said.
She said the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were started by Bush in response to the attacks Sept. 11 and were “unbudgeted” wars that created the deficit.
“I guess people have a short memory,” Bohemier said.
Romney campaign adviser Chris Walker said the bus tour, sans candidate, is a chance to rally supporters and look for more volunteers, especially since Colorado is a swing state.