Romney in Perry Territory Today, Delivers Speech to VFW in San Antonio, TX

Governor Mitt Romney was in Rick Perry territory today. He delivered an impassioned speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) at their 112th convention in San Antonio, Texas.

What’s interesting is that Perry was invited to speak at the same event three months ago and didn’t respond – until the VFW called him out.

Politico’s Maggie Haberman reports:

“The VFW also has a tradition of inviting the governor of the host state where its annual convention is being held to come and welcome and greet our convention delegates. Although Governor Perry was similarly sent an invitation 3 months ago, apparently our invitation was deemed not important enough for the governor’s office to at least accept or decline the invitation. Governor Perry’s candidacy for president does not provide him an excuse for bad manners. The White House and Governor Perry can rest assured that the 2 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries will remember this discourteous treatment for a very long time to come.”

Obama never changed course on attending, but Perry did the next day, and the VFW took note of it in a press release.

Jennifer Rubin from the Washington Post watched Romney’s address and was impressed. Here are a few of her comments:

A bolder Romney

Jennifer Rubin, before picking at the substance of Rick Perry’s VFW speech from yesterday, reports that the group had actually slammed him and President Obama for not attending in a press release on its web site on Aug. 22:

As those in and around the Mitt Romney campaign have explained privately and on the record, the frenzy about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s surge in the national polls hasn’t panicked them. They, of course, lived through the 2008 race when Sen. John McCain came from far behind, Rudy Giuliani melted and Fred Thompson turned out to be much to do about nothing. That isn’t to say they intend to sit back. Their game plan was in full view at the VFW speech today in Texas.

Whoever Romney has fired or hired to assist with speechwriting, the change was somewhat dramatic. Gone were equivocations and recycled stump speech lines. This is a more aggressive and more colorful Romney.

He began with the list of enemies — “Some are jihadists, some are communists, and some are simply tyrants who clothe themselves in any convenient political manifesto. And so once again, American heroes are called upon to defend liberty.” Notice “liberty,” a word that’s fallen out of fashion with many conservatives. If Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s speech was limiting (not “military adventurism” and only fight when “vital national interests” are at stake), Romney’s (again, not his usual style) was anything but.

Then came the quick shift to the economy, which remains Romney’s focus and, his team contends, his best issue. He told the crowd:

25 million Americans are out of work, or have stopped looking, or have only part time jobs but want full-time work. Home values have dropped more than they did during the Depression. National debt is almost as large as our entire economy, and we owe a huge chunk of it to China. Incredibly, unfunded government promises now total about $530,000 per American household. This cannot possibly stand as the legacy we will leave the next generation.

And the peril of this mismanagement may even be more imminent. We stand near a threshold of profound economic misery. Four more years on the same political path could prove disastrous.

I am a conservative businessman. I have spent most of my life outside of politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy. Career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don’t know how to get us out!

And that is his pitch both in the primary and the general election. He doesn’t mention Perry by name, and until the debates, I wouldn’t count on him doing so. But the message is that pols don’t get how the private sector works. They know about bailouts, crony capitalism, borrowing and spending. Expect to hear a whole lot about that in Nevada next week when he rolls out his jobs speech and in the fall debates.

Then it was back to foreign policy. Here, he put some meat on the bones. That’s going to be another theme you’ll see more of: He’s got answers, the other guys and gals have rhetoric.

Romney’s team has insisted that as voters turn the attention back to the campaign and the fall debates dominate the political news, we will see some robust policy pronouncements. This had the feel of a warm-up, an effort to lay down some markers and begin to introduce some themes. It was a different sort of speech than Perry’s, more specific and more attention paid to the economy. Expect more of that and a clearer delineation between the candidates, if not on ideology then on experience and capability.

(emphasis added) Read entire article here.

To see VIDEO of Mitt’s speech and read the TRANSCRIPT click here.

If you’d like to watch a quick little video of Mitt behind the scenes before speaking today, click here.

Proud to have the opportunity to speak today at the 112th #VFW National Convention in San Antonioless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

► Jayde Wyatt

Video and Transcript: Romney’s Speech to the 112th VFW National Convention

(Other sessions of the conference may be viewed here.)

UPDATE: It looks like Mitt Romney has opened up a new TOUT account. I’m not even sure what TOUT is but it appears to be short video sharing in a Twitter-esque format. There is a short clip of Romney behind the scenes of his speech today:

Mitt Romney’s full remarks as prepared for delivery:

It’s a privilege to be addressing the veterans who defended our liberty in the past, and who defend the memory and dignity of every veteran today.

I was born in 1947 – a quintessential baby boomer. I grew up in the shadow of World War II, and then came the wars in Korea and Vietnam. As a boy, I knew that it was American soldiers and sailors and Marines and airmen who had saved us from German Fascism, and who protected us from Soviet Communism. You were our heroes then, and you are today.

You know better than most that the world is still infected with purveyors of hate and oppression. Some are jihadists, some are communists, and some are simply tyrants who clothe themselves in any convenient political manifesto. And so once again, American heroes are called upon to defend liberty.

We rightly call our fathers and mothers the Greatest Generation, but every man and woman who has or now defends American liberty – from the beaches of Normandy, to the Mekong Delta, to the valleys of the Hindu Kush – shares in their heritage of greatness. Every veteran is the greatest of his generation.

The quiet heroes who have fought for our country come from the most diverse backgrounds imaginable: from farmers and subway riders, Ph.D.’s and high school graduates, and from every ethnic background of the American melting pot. But they are united by far more than what divides them.
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Mitt Romney Heads to Florida: Addressing National Hispanic GOP Convention, Opening Campaign HQ in Tampa

Mitt Romney is in San Antonio, Texas today delivering a speech to the VFW. We now have the video posted here.

Looking ahead, The Gov will be in The Sunshine State on Friday (Sept 2nd) to address the National Hispanic Republican Assembly Convention. Then, he’ll officially open his Florida campaign headquarters in Tampa and YOU’RE INVITED:

We’re looking forward to hearing Romney’s jobs creation plan which he will unveil on September 6th in Nevada. Then, with all the attention being given to Rick Perry these last couple of weeks, we’re really looking forward to the showdown the very next day at the GOP presidential debate which will be held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA.

September debate schedule:

September 7th, 2011 8pm EST on MSNBC and CNBC
Location: Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA
Sponsor: Reagan Library, NBC News and Politico
Participants: Romney, Perry, Paul, Huntsman, Santorum, Gingrich, Bachmann, Cain

September 12th, 2011 8pm EST on CNN – Submit Questions
Location: Florida State Fair Grounds in Tampa, FL
Sponsor: CNN and the Tea Party Express
Participants: TBD

September 22nd, 2011 Air time TBD on Fox News
Location: Orlando, FL
Sponsor: Fox News and Florida Republican Party
Participants: TBD

► Jayde Wyatt