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Adoring crowd welcomes Romney in return to Utah

Published April 19, 2005 1:14 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney likes to call Utah his "second home."

After a brief, practiced speech in front of an adoring crowd of Zions Bank clients Monday, his choice of words became clear. A line of audience members - waiting patiently for autographs with copies of Romney's book, Turnaround, in hand - snaked through the ballroom at Salt Lake City's Grand America hotel.

If Romney loves Utah, many Utahns love him more. Over and over they asked when he would run for president. "We'd vote for you," one man said.

Romney sold the books to Zions in lieu of a speaking fee and said he would donate the proceeds to the Institute of Public Management named after his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, at Brigham Young University. He signed for more than an hour. His Sharpie pen started to dry out.

Jumping off from his self-proclaimed rescue of the 2002 Winter Games, Romney delivered a tried and true, if brief, speech about heroes - his prescription for America's future in a time of terrorism and globalization.

Earlier in the day, Romney and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. met with business leaders from Microsoft, Chevron, GE, Envirocare and Pfizer in an attempt to figure out what's wrong with America's education system.

The governors and business leaders agree: U.S. schools and students are losing ground in math and science.

Huntsman noted U.S. colleges issued about 4,700 science and math doctoral degrees last year, while nearly 25,000 graduated in Asian countries. China produces five times as many engineers.

"You know you have a problem in terms of producing people with quantitative skills," Huntsman said.

Romney used the information gleaned from that round-table meeting to flesh out his speech.

Massachusetts' Republican governor said the only way to combat terrorism is with a strong military. And a strong military requires a "tier-one" economy, Romney said, warning that America is in danger of stumbling.

"We have challenges of falling behind and becoming a second-tier economy," Romney said. "We can't afford to be a second-tier economy."

Noting the volunteerism and spirit of Utah's Olympic Games, Romney said America is up for the task. "This is why America will always rises to the challenge. This is why America is the greatest nation on earth. And this is why we will fight against tyranny and oppression everywhere."






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