Romney stumps for Berg, Hoeven in Fargo

June 24, 2010

Former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney energized North Dakota Republicans by offering enthusiastic endorsements for the party’s top candidates Wednesday in Fargo.

Romney had been in the area since Tuesday to attend a state GOP fundraiser and the opening of the party’s “victory office” near downtown Fargo.

Romney offered a short stump speech to a crowd of about 60 Republican supporters at the campaign office Wednesday morning.

“Across the country, one thing people recognize is that this country is headed in the wrong direction,” Romney said. “In my view, to pass on these burdens to our kids and our grandkids is immoral. That’s why I think you’re going to find that Rick Berg and John Hoeven are elected to represent the people of North Dakota and to get America back on track.”

Berg said Wednesday he enjoyed meeting with Romney because the purpose of his campaign is similar to the concerns Romney had raised.

“We want Washington to be more like North Dakota – balanced budget, job growth, income growth,” Berg said. “That’s what we’re doing with our campaign, too, so it was kind of fun to have his perspective.”

Romney’s political action committee formally endorsed Hoeven and Berg Wednesday and donated $5,000 to Hoeven’s campaign and $2,500 to Berg’s.

Romney is seen as a likely GOP contender for the presidential election in 2012, but he shied away from the subject in an interview with The Forum, saying his presence in North Dakota was solely to support Berg and Hoeven.

“I’ve visited quite a few states, hoping that my visit can help elect good people,” said Romney, who has been touring the country this year in support of Republican candidates.

North Dakota was one of 11 states that endorsed Romney’s 2008 presidential bid, and Romney said he’s fond of the state because it reminds him of his youth.

“I spent some time as a boy, a 15-year-old working on my uncle’s ranch in Idaho, and I frankly love the life of farming and ranching and agriculture,” he said. “I love my state of Massachusetts, but there’s something wonderful about flying in over huge fields of brilliant green color and seeing the corn.”

Romney also said he enjoys the “friendliness and openness” of North Dakotans – traits he said would serve Hoeven and Berg well if they went to Washington.

“(They) will have a disproportionate impact in Washington,” Romney told The Forum. “They will make friends; they will make associations on both sides of the aisle.

“They will make it clear that they will do what they think is right for America and for the people they represent, and that will represent a breath of fresh air,” he said.

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