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Post-primary Mitt

Now he’s auditioning for the top job.

May 14, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 33 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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But Romney is careful not to let the mirth get out of hand. He pauses for a moment when introducing his wife. “My sweetheart of, let’s see, how many years?” The question elicits a few knowing groans and nervous laughter from the audience. “I know how many years we’ve been married!” Romney says, raising his voice just slightly. “We’ve been married 43 years, but we dated 4 years before that.”

For most of the brief, 30-minute rally, the crowd sits or stands dutifully as Romney goes through the stump speech. On taxes, Obama’s for raising them, Romney’s for lowering them. On regulations, Obama’s instituted more, Romney wants to roll them back. On education, Obama’s for less choice, Romney’s for more. But on energy, Romney employs another relatively well-delivered, droll joke:

The president the other day said he’s in favor of all of the above when it comes to energy. And I wondered how in the world he could say that given the fact that he put the moratorium on drilling in the gulf, we haven’t been drilling in the outer continental shelf, we’re not drilling in ANWR. The regulators have been trying to slow down the development of natural gas resources by trying to regulate fracking. And of course, the battle against coal that seems to be waged by this administration. So how could he say he’s for all of the above? And then I realized what he must have been thinking, and that is he’s for all the sources of energy that come from above the ground.

The applause is raucous, but Romney wants to make sure he’s not misunderstood. “I actually like the stuff from above the ground and the stuff from below the ground, and we’ll put Americans back to work as we take advantage of those resources,” he says, as the laughter subsides.

Michael Warren is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.

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