Photos: Craig Romney targets Colorado Latinos as dad Mitt prepares for debates
After last week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Mitt Romney has taken a break from the campaign trail to focus on debate preparation.
Big photos below.
But that doesn't mean he's ignoring the key swing state of Colorado. Yesterday, the campaign brought Craig Romney, the candidate's youngest son, to Lakewood for an event targeting Latino voters.
Craig Romney's visit -- he appeared alongside Congressman Raul Labrador and Hector Barreto, former administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration under George W. Bush -- highlights the importance of Jefferson County, widely regarded as one of the most critical swing counties in the state. The event, which is part of the campaign's "Juntos con Romney" initiative, also underscores the significance of the Latino vote, which in 2008 helped Colorado go blue for Barack Obama.
In the last presidential election, Latino voters played a key role for Obama in several battleground states, and both campaigns have devoted a lot of attention to this demographic in Colorado.
Sam Levin Craig Romney greets voters after his speech.
Craig Romney, who has courted the Latino vote across the country for his father, made a speech at the RNC, part of which was in Spanish.
But at the Lakewood Cultural Center, Romney decided to stick to English.
"It's a great privilege to be with you all," he said before offering a short greeting in Spanish. "I'll continue in English, because I know there's a mixed crowd in here today."
Romney was addressing an audience of around seventy or so attendees -- a blend of Latino residents and others who came out for the gathering even though it focused on Hispanic voters and small businesses.
"I'm kind of an ambassador, I guess, for the campaign. I'd love to hear the struggles that you're having. I'd love to hear how you think we can make things better," he said. "I'm not a policy expert...but I can tell you what an incredible man my dad is. I'm incredibly proud of him. I'd like to share just kind of personal stories about what kind of person he is, so you guys can get to know him a little better."
All five of the candidate's sons have been functioning as spokesmen for their father, often focusing on humanizing him.
And that's exactly what Craig, the youngest of the brothers at age 31, spent much of his speech doing yesterday.
"On vacation, what we like to do, my brothers and I have a little family Olympics," he said. "And we involve my dad. So we do silly stuff.... We do a little mile run, have a bike race, a sprint...stuff like that. My dad doesn't do well in all those events. The ones where he actually does do pretty well, we call them the lumberjack events, where we find a big hunk of wood and a saw and you time how long it takes to saw through the piece of wood and to nail ten nails into a piece of wood without bending any of it. So that's his specialty -- the lumberjack events."
Romney went on to criticize Obama's "If you've got a business, you didn't build that" quote, which has been at the center of the Republican campaign's attacks on the president's small-business record and was a theme at the RNC.
"It's unbelievable, because that's what he really thinks," Romney said of the Obama quote, which Democrats have repeatedly argued was taken out of context. "My dad...understands the hard work, the risk, the sacrifice it takes to build a business. And he loves small business owners."
Sam Levin Crowd at the Craig Romney event.
Continue reading for comments from supporters at the event and more photos.