GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduced himself to York County Republicans this morning with promises to continue the fight against terrorism and rein in spending at home.
Standing on a chair so that a standing-room-only audience at Thursday's Too restaurant could see him, Romney told about 70 listeners that being president doesn't require you "to be the smartest person in the country."
"You have to be able to gather the smartest people in the country," he said.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor known best for winning statewide office in a heavily Democratic state, warned that America faces a litany of challenges at home and abroad. He was joined by his wife, Ann, who took off her heels to climb onto a chair next to her husband.
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"If the Democrats were to take over the White House, the course they would take us on is the course Europe has taken," he said. "They're going to raise your taxes up and up."
Romney outlined what he views as the major issues that voters should consider in choosing a candidate.
"On one side of the world, we face these jihadists," he said. "We also face a tougher competitive array from Asia. Then we have our own problems. We're spending too much money in Washington. We're using too much oil."
From Rock Hill, Romney was expected to travel to Greenville for a Republican women's luncheon. Tonight, he will headline a President's Day dinner in Spartanburg.
In a line that drew applause and laughter, Romney made indirect reference to the sex scandals that plagued President Bill Clinton during the 1990s.
"I will not embarass you in the White House," he said. "This sweetheart and I have been in love way too long for that to be an issue."
Many who came to hear the 15-minute remarks said they were still undecided, but impressed by Romney's credentials.
"If the election was today, I'd definitely vote for Romney," said Jay League of Rock Hill. "It's still early."