A little less conversation, a little more
All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me ...
- Elvis Presley
So there I was, standing behind a screen in a Nashua school cafeteria
with Mitt Romney and New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, who'd endorsed
the former Massachusetts governor.
We were told by the young organizers of the Ask Mitt Anything rally that
when the music came up, we were to go around the screen, where we would
find ourselves facing cameras and reporters. Since I was there to
introduce the presidential candidate, I assumed he would follow us out,
and thought Sen. Gregg would lead.
Gregg said he thought I should lead. While we discussed it, Elvis
started singing, and Mitt Romney, a grandchild on his shoulder, bounded
around us and strode out into the crowd; "A little less conversation, a
little more action please" ...
The cameras crowded behind them, and a staffer came to my rescue and
pulled me onto the platform beside the candidate and his family. I'd
been told I would introduce Mitt - but he already had the microphone,
and was introducing me! For a moment I was confused, and wondered if it
was I who was running for president.
Well, heck, anyone can: "Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby announce my
candidacy and my platform of change, hope, peace, love and
understanding. Together we can!" That's what you call Deval Obama
I think I'll pass.
So: "Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to introduce Mitt Romney, because
it's the least I can do. A few years ago, he was out in Utah, minding
his own business and running the Winter Olympics. I was worried about no
longer having a taxpayer friend in the corner office, because Jane Swift
couldn't win. So I thought: 'How hard can it be to call the Olympic
chairman?' and dialed 411.
Then there was Mitt's voice on his answering machine.
"I know you're busy now,' I said, "but when you're done with the
Olympics, please come home and save Massachusetts." This week, I thought
New Hampshire voters should know that he did just that.
I acknowledged the many Massachusetts escapees in the audience and the
other southern New Hampshire voters who know Massachusetts through our
shared media. I reminded them about our initiative petition process,
which they must envy; that Proposition 2/ is only a law that can be
repealed; and that our tax burden is - to put it mildly - much higher
I said that if Mitt Romney had done nothing in four years but carry a
veto pen, it would have been enough. But I also told them how he
prevented a retroactive capital gains tax, and brought "personal
responsibility" into the health insurance debate.
I didn't see Holly Robichaud, a Republican blogger who's been
anti-Romney since he didn't pick her client for lieutenant governor. She
wrote, "He entered the rally via a roped off entrance. He did not work
the crowd. You could not reach out and touch him like the other
candidates we had seen. Romney spoke along with Barbara Anderson of
Citizens for Limited Taxation..." (She didn't mention anything I said).
Robichaud continued, "After his speech he fielded many questions from
the audience. Surprisingly there was only one question from a New
Hampshire voter. The rest of them were all from out of state."
Here's the truth: The media had a roped-off section for their cameras;
Mitt entered through the crowd, and when he was through speaking, people
rushed the platform, autograph books in hand. I was there, trying to get
out of the way.
Robichaud gives the impression that the questioners were plants from
Massachusetts. No, one was from New Jersey. He said he wouldn't have a
chance there to ask about the most important issue for his kids, who
were with him - a balanced federal budget. Another was from Virginia.
A New Hampshire man, originally from Arkansas, asked about shrinking
government. Mitt said he'd do his best.
Where does it come from, the Massachusetts hatred of Mitt Romney?
Talk-show host Michael Graham thinks it's envy, and he could be right.
But there's also the fact some insider elephants have not forgiven
Romney's move against Jane Swift. (I say, again, "Mitt, thank you!"), or
his choosing Kerry Healey over Jim Rappaport to be his lieutenant
Which reminds me: This oft-repeated accusation that the governor didn't
support Healey when she ran in 2006, and/or, that he didn't use her
talents as lieutenant governor.
She was doing all the municipal stuff, all the criminal justice issues,
for four years. I was supporting her in 2006 and the last thing I wanted
to see was Mitt Romney hanging around, making it look as if she couldn't
stand on her own electoral feet.
Oh, and by the way, she was with me at the Nashua rally, and the next
day emceed Mitt's Nashua news conference on tax issues; at which I told
New Hampshire voters how he never stopped trying to roll back our income
P.S. Correction on last week's column: I described John McCain as
a grown-up. That was before his childish behavior during the ABC debate.
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens
for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and
Eagle Tribune, and often in the Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, and
Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the
Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.