Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stopped in Omaha Thursday afternoon for a private fundraiser and a public rally.
Romney first attended a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Dave Heineman at the downtown Hilton Hotel.
In remarks to the public at Rick’s Café Boatyard, Romney zeroed in on the country's massive debt. Romney says that President Obama has added $5 trillion so far and would add another $4 trillion if he's re-elected.
“And that's something we're not going to pay back. My generation will be long gone, it's these young kids and kids coming out of school today that'll pay that. It's unacceptable, it's bad economics, it's bad policy and I think it's immoral of us to pass these burdens on to our kids.”
Voters and supporters had the chance to e-mail for reservations for priority status in a limited space situation. The general public was allowed in after that, first-come, first-serve.
The visit was an important one in this presidential campaign, said Bruce Dickes, communications director for the Douglas County Republican Party. "We have a whole lot at stake in Nebraska this year, in the primary and in the general election in the fall. Obama wants this electoral vote in Douglas and Sarpy counties and we don't want him to have it."
"We're excited about the prospects for 2012. We think the stakes are momentous in this election. You know it's a choice between what we see as federal overreach, you know, the monster that gave us Obamacare, the regulatory overreach by the Obama administration or let the free markets do what they're intended to do, build jobs. Let's restore the economy."
In response, Ben Finkenbinder, regional press secretary for Obama for America said, "Our organization and supporters in Nebraska have been building for months making sure Nebraskans know the important choice they face in November."
"Do we continue to build on the progress President Obama has made in the last three years taking swift action to address the jobs crisis while laying the foundation for an economy built to last, so that hard work and responsibility pay and providing economic security for the middle class. Or Mitt Romney's economic scheme, more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy; fewer rules for Wall Street, the same formula that benefited a few, but crashed our economy and punished the middle class."
And among the general public locally, Romney’s arrival was met with reviews that are just as mixed. "I'm sure he's going to get a big crowd," said Creighton student Tassa Allegranza. "I'm originally from California, but I'm conservative so anybody besides the man in presidency right now I think would be great.
Richard from Omaha disagreed. "I would rather vote for a normal guy who wants to help the country than a rich guy who wants to buy the election."