Update: Capacity Crowd Greets Romney in Arbutus

"It's an honor" to have Mitt Romney in Arbutus, a resident says.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. to add quotes, description, background

Mitt Romney made his sole visit to Maryland on Wednesday in advance of the state's April 3 GOP primary, telling a capacity crowd at a town hall meeting in Arbutus that President Obama is clueless about how to fix the economy.

The leading Republican candidate, dressed in an open-collar shirt and jeans, greeted an overflow crowd of several hundred people who waited outside , then spoke and answered questions from a friendly crowd inside.

Obama's poll numbers are hurting because "Americans are hurting," Romney said, to cheers. "Let's make sure that come Election Day, he is out of a job."

Inside the hall, Romney got more cheers from a capacity crowd.

"It's an honor to have the Republican nominee come here," said Stephanie Bagley of Timonium, who sat in the front row along with her husband, Mike, and their daughter, Danielle.

"We're huge supporters of Mitt Romney," she said.

"This is one of the few times Maryland Republicans can come out in public," said Mike Bagley.

The line outside the Dewey Lowman post began forming at around 11 a.m.

Merle Martin, of Frederick County, MD, said that she drove more than an hour to see Romney.

Describing herself as undecided but leaning toward Romney, Martin said that she came to experience the political process first-hand.

"I enjoy the process—to see it and be part of the political process," she said. "It's exciting."

Fresh from his March 20 victory in the Illinois primary, Romney, wearing a checked dress shirt with the cuffs rolled up, worked the supportive crowd with apparent ease.

Romney is the first Republican presidential candidate in 2012 to visit Maryland in advance of the April 3 primary, which offers GOP candidates the chance to win 37 delegates in a hard-fought political year. Romney is hoping to avoid a brokered Republican national convention with former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-PA.

The candidate was introduced by former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, an Arbutus native who serves as co-chair of Maryland for Romney.

"Why Arbutus?" Ehrlich asked the town hall crowd. "Because it's the center of the political universe."

"Arbutus," Romney said. "I don't think I've ever been here before."

Sticking to a theme of economics and the hardships felt on American families, Romney told the crowd he intends to repeal "Obamacare" and eliminate regulation that he said is stifling the nation's economic growth.

"I see our president attacking economic freedom," Romney said. "He doesn't know what he's doing. He attacks ecomomic freedom by making it difficult for banks to stay in business and lend."

Romney said that the campaign trail has allowed him to meet families across the country.

"I become more encouraged and more optimistic as I meet everyday Americans," he said. "I get the chance to see people across the country that love America and are doing things that make their lives better. I am also however weighed down by some of the troubles folks are having."

Noting that the median income has dropped in the last decade, Romney said that "these are trying times in America."

"I look at what he’s (Obama's) done in his almost three and half years in his office and I just shake my head," he said. "Virtually everything he’s doing is making it harder in this economy for people to get back to work. I say that because I understand what it is that fuels this economy; it’s freedom, economic freedom."

After the forum, Lutherville resident Leigh Erlandson said that she is more convinced than ever that Romney is her candidate for president in 2012.

"He's the voice of reason," she said. "The press needs to share his message about bringing people together."

DC March 21, 2012 at 08:30 PM
DL March 21, 2012 at 08:36 PM
It's a great day to be a Republican!
Killi Macklin March 21, 2012 at 08:46 PM
JH March 21, 2012 at 09:03 PM
A very effective leader and a man with the education and experience to be a great President. Time for a change at the White House. Vote Romney!
Patsy March 21, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Tried to get there but needing handicapped/close parking, I couldn't get anywhere near the place. Glad he drew a crowd though!!
MTH March 21, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Seriously, Obama has been a complete and utter failure. Sara is right....A debt crisis that has us hurtling towards a Greek-style collapse, entitlement programs going bankrupt, a credit downgrade for the first time in our history, a government takeover of the health care industry that makes care more expensive and puts a rationing panel of faceless bureaucrats between you and your doctor (aka a “death panel”), $4 and $5 gas at the pump exacerbated by an anti-drilling agenda that rejects good paying energy sector jobs and makes us more dependent on dangerous foreign regimes, a war in Afghanistan that seems unfocused and unending, a global presidential apology tour that’s made us look feeble and ridiculous, a housing market in the tank, the longest streak of high unemployment since World War II, private-sector job creators and industry strangled by burdensome regulations and an out-of-control Obama EPA, an attack on the Constitutional protection of religious liberty, an attack on private industry in right-to-work states, crony capitalism run amok in an administration in bed with their favored cronies to the detriment of genuine free market capitalism, green energy pay-to-play kickbacks to Obama campaign donors, and a Justice Department still stonewalling on a bungled operation that armed violent Mexican drug lords and led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.
Paul Amirault March 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Welcome to Maryland, Mr. Etch-A-Sketch. Probably will be his last visit.
Buck Harmon March 21, 2012 at 11:46 PM
At this point in time ...we have been screwed equally by both parties... Romney will make about as good a president as Donald Trump would. The difference is that Trump would beat Obama... Romney will not...
Sean Tully March 22, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Quote the Arbutus Patch: "Arbutus," Romney said. "I don't think I've ever been here before." Are our trees the right size, Mitt?
Cecil Faile March 22, 2012 at 04:05 AM
I been There....It's a great place in Balitmore.....Love it!
Tim March 22, 2012 at 04:37 AM
LOL, economic freedom meaning continuing to write the tax code for the top 1% and corrupt corporations. Righhhhtttt.
Bart March 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM
....and the STOP signs are all the right color!
Buck Harmon March 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Yep...you got that right...
Tim March 22, 2012 at 01:59 PM
LOL, okay.
Tim March 22, 2012 at 02:15 PM
All of these problems were caused and accelerated by previous management. The only thing Obama adds to this, is the PPAHA. On this, I completely agree with conservatives. Government run health care will fail. Government's best role in my view is making sure private health care is run on 'the up and up'. That's a critical role, much more so then trying to run it themselves. It may not be corrupt in the latter case, but it'll be grossly inefficient and costly in another way. Anyone calling us "the next Greece' though is a fool that reads a headline or two and has no perspective of the global economy. Think again. It's this type of conservative brainwashing that takes ignorant people and makes them vote against themselves. The Koch brothers would be proud.
Chelsea Willis March 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I find it ironic and somewhat humorous that conservatives always say there is an attack on religious freedom. What they really mean is, everyone should be Christian and they should be free to preach Christianity to anyone who comes within 10' of them. You want to be Christian - great! But respect that I don't want to be. Religious freedom applies to ALL people and yes, that includes folks such as myself who are NOT christian. Prayer in school, I am all for it. Today is THORS-Day. All hail Thor!
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT March 23, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Romney does have a chance. His strategy should be to run against Obama and against Bush. Should get about 80% of the vote that way. He has to be better than the leadership we have had over the last 12 years.
Tim March 23, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Romney has no shot. Mark my words. His career as a politician has more holes then a chain link fence. I am enjoying watching the Tea party finally choking on their own agenda and accepting Romney for the sake of 'beating Obama'. It's too funny how two years ago they had their own principles - which didn't necessarily align completely with the Republican party - yet now they are proving to be as wishy washy as the candidate they now support. For a double helping of irony, the Catholic conservatives are also trying their best to get behind a Mormon. it's too funny - and ultimately, it's going to fail. Barack Obama will be a two term president, and it'll be the Republicans fault.
Tim March 23, 2012 at 03:30 AM
PS: O'Malley still sucks. I just don't even come close to putting our President in the same 'class' as ol' Martin.
Tim March 23, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Apparently, Rick Santorum kinda agrees with me, he favors Obama over Romney, LOL http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/03/22/santorum-might-as-well-have-obama-over-romney/
John Doe March 23, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I thought it was a robot convention - I was right.
JH March 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Time for new leadership in Washington. Even the Obama bots (student stooges and union goons) are starting to recognize that they were duped. The question is : will they be duped again ?
John Doe March 23, 2012 at 05:03 PM
JH - Romney is not the answer. Also, keep up with the name calling of people - classy.
Tim March 23, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Depends, on whether or not they throw the Tea Party congressman out of the House or not, considering even Boehner can't reign them in when it comes down to it :)
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT March 23, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I am with you JH. The problem is anyone who tries to talk straight with the people about our problems has no chance. Americans are so used to living the good life off borrowed money will not stand for any cuts in benefits. Young kids are the ones that should be demanding change - the 50 to 60 year olds have built an enormous debt to place on the next generation. Very selfish. That being said, a Republican House, Senate and President could be the most dangerous thing to happen to America. We had this before and look what happened. Somehow the old warhorse McCain has popped up on news shows. John - wrap it up! Is there any country McCain does not want to invade? The safest thing may be Obama as President, and a Republican House and Senate. Neither party has any ideas, they can just fight with themselves and the country can hopefully heal.


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