Romney stops in St. Louis to meet with public and raise money
In front of a banner declaring "Putting Jobs First," likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made his case Thursday for the importance of free enterprise.
Several hundred people gathered in the warehouse of Production Products, an Hispanic-owned firm in north St. Louis County that specializes in the production of protective equipment and clothes.
Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., was among the Missouri Republicans joining Romney on stage.
In excerpts from his prepared remarks, made available by his campaign, Romney said that the American free enterprise system offered a "bright beacon of freedom" to the world.
"America is rightly heralded as the greatest experiment in self-governance in world history. We are all here today because of a startling conviction that free individuals could join together to decide their fate and that more freedom made us all stronger," Romney's prepared text said.
Read the Beacon's earlier story below:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is holding his second public event in the St. Louis area on Thursday, with a noontime stop at a north St. Louis County firm that makes protective equipment and apparel for the military and first responders.
The firm, Production Products, also is Hispanic-owned. Romney and the Republican Party have been seeking to attract Hispanic voters.
The former Massachusetts governor also will also hold a private fundraising event later at a Clayton hotel, Republican sources say. The campaign declined comment.
Production Products is at 1285 Dunn Road. According to the candidate’s website, doors will open at 11:15 a.m., with the program to start an hour later.
The Missouri AFL-CIO is planning a protest outside the firm right before Romney's event. In its announcement, the labor consortium referred to the candidate as "Mr. 1 percent," explaining, "Romney's economic vision doesn't work for working people -- he's a candidate of, by and for the 1 percent."
At 3 p.m. downtown at Kiener Plaza, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Democratic Party chairman Brian Wahby will join labor leaders for an event that disparages Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts.
Romney was last in the St. Louis area for a public event back in March, when he held a rally at a park in Kirkwood.
Romney is not expected to spend a lot of time or money in Missouri, which is seen as leaning Republican in the presidential contest. Like President Barack Obama, Romney is expected to stop here primarily to raise money. Public events, like the one on Thursday, are additions.
Obama, for example, has been in the area twice in recent months for money-raisers, but has not held any public events.
Missouri activists in both parties expect Romney and Obama to direct their attention and money to no more than a dozen "swing states" that will likely determine which man wins in November.
At the moment, Missouri -- although it has Democratic incumbents for the U.S. Senate and governor on the ballot -- is not considered one of those states.