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Mitt Romney Stays on Anti-Obama Message in Mackinac Speech

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(MACKINAC, Mich.) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney kept on his main talking points Saturday night at the 29th Biannual Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, lambasting President Obama for his handling of the economy and touting himself as the best replacement in Washington.

Romney, who was born and raised in Michigan, and spent many summers on Mackinac Island in the Governor’s mansion during his father’s tenure in the post, began his remarks by saying, “I love Michigan,” before adding, “I also like being in a place where you see more Fords and Chevys and Dodges than you see Nissans and Kias and Toyotas.”

“There has never been a president of the United States who was born in Michigan, and I’m going to rectify that,” he said.

Never mentioning GOP frontrunner and rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry or his impressive third place finish in the Florida Straw Poll, on which his campaign had insisted they were placing little to no importance, Romney remained focused on Obama.

“The president is unprepared for the kind of economy we have today,” he said. “When he was recently inaugurated he went on the ‘Today Show’ and said, ‘Look if I can’t get the economy turned around I’ll be looking at a one-term proposition.’

“I’m here to collect on that,” Romney said.

Detailing for the first time his July meeting with Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Romney said the official told him during their meeting not to forget that “what the world fears most is a weak America.”

“The world needs a strong America and there has been no ally for peace like a strong America,” Blair said, according to Romney.

“Right now we have a president that doesn’t know how to do that,” said Romney.

Before launching into his remarks, Romney handed the microphone over to his wife of 42 years, Ann Romney, whom he met at a school dance when she was just 16 years old.

“I met her at a party. She came with another guy, she had a date with someone else, and I said to the guy who brought her, I said, ‘Look, I live closer to Ann than you do, can I drive her home for you?’” Romney said. “He said sure, and we’ve been together ever since.”

Ann Romney also spoke about her time on the island saying, “I fell in love in Mitt up here in Mackinac. What a special place it is for Mitt and I.”

The audience urged the couple to kiss — which they did behind the podium — before Ann asked Romney, “Do you want a better one?”

“No, no, no,” Romney insisted, laughing, before Ann chimed in, “We’re not going to do another Al Gore moment,” referring to the long embrace Gore and then wife Tipper Gore enjoyed at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

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