Mitt Romney addresses the crowd Tuesday at a rally in Craig. Brita Horn, a Republican candidate for the Routt County Board of Commissioners who attended the event, said, "There seemed to be a real buzz among the base."

Photo by Mary Austin

Mitt Romney addresses the crowd Tuesday at a rally in Craig. Brita Horn, a Republican candidate for the Routt County Board of Commissioners who attended the event, said, "There seemed to be a real buzz among the base."

Routt County Republicans meet Mitt Romney

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Mitt Romney speaks to Craig

— Nancy Buchner said the sour economy motivated her to drive to Craig on Tuesday morning to see Mitt Romney.

Hours after she witnessed the Moffat County city’s first visit from a presidential candidate, the Steamboat Springs resident and small-business owner said she liked what the Republican presidential nominee had to say.

“We really believe Romney has the tools and the knowledge to get the economy going,” Buchner said, adding that she only recently became politically active because of the economy. “When I talked to different people (at the rally), they were worried about money. People cannot get jobs. This is not an election to sit out.”

She said she doesn’t think President Barack Obama can turn the economy around.

Other Routt County Republicans also flocked to Craig and arrived at the rally site as early as 7 a.m. Tuesday. Romney spoke for about 14 minutes to a crowd of about 2,000 people and reaffirmed his support for coal as an energy source. He also continued his pointed criticism of the Obama administration, saying it had “run out of excuses.”

Brita Horn, a Republican candidate for the Routt County Board of Commissioners, got to shake Romney’s hand and exchange a smile.

“What I liked about it was the buzz,” she said. “There seemed to be a real buzz among the base. It was really nice to see so many people together talking about the issues.”

Routt County Republican Party Chairman Chuck McConnell also was thrilled with Romney’s stop in Northwest Colorado.

“He restated his position that the United States and Colorado need to use the energy resources we have to fuel the country,” he said, adding that he agrees with Romney’s belief that EPA regulations under the Obama administration are too stringent and hinder domestic energy production. “We were very happy and very excited about his first appearance here.”

He said Romney’s vow to repeal Obama’s health care reform bill drew big applause from the audience.

Routt County Democratic Party Chairwoman Catherine Carson reacted to Romney’s appearance with praise for Obama.

“I think President Obama has done an excellent job,” she said. “He’s added 4.2 million private-sector jobs. We’ve had 26 straight months of (private-sector) job growth. He inherited a recession, and his policies have prevented us from going into a depression. I think he’s done a good job, and I’m looking forward to four more years of Obama.”

After the speech, Romney headed back to Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden to fly to Las Vegas for a fundraiser with Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. But before the candidate left, YVRA assistant manager Dean Smith was able to snag a couple of minutes with Romney and pose for a picture. Smith said he told a Romney aide that Northwest Colorado was in need of more medical facilities for veterans.

“He was a very, very nice guy. Very cordial,” Smith said about Romney. “They’re just like regular people. They have to get up and get dressed every day just like we do.”

Audrey Danner introduces Mitt Romney

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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