Mitt Romney campaigns in Bellevue ahead of state GOP caucuses

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on March 2, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 2 at 1:55 PM

BELLEVUE, Wash. - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stayed an extra day in Washington state, attending a public event in Bellevue Friday morning, one day before the state's GOP caucuses.

Romney was in Bellevue Thursday night for a fundraiser at the Meydenbauer Center. He held a "meet-and-greet" Friday morning at the Highland Community Center, his first public event in Washington state.

A long line of people wrapped around the community center hours before the free event.

"Absolutely, this is our candidate," said Lindsy Prows of Tri-Cities. "We've been here since five o'clock in the morning. We are excited to support Mitt."

Jordan Ballard of Las Vegas, Nevada, also arrived early to secure a spot inside the event.

"I feel like if they (voters) were to do their research they would see that Mitt Romney has the best chance out of the four to beat Barack Obama in November," said Ballard.  

The former Massachusetts governor is in a crowded primary race with Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. On Friday, Romney focused his comments toward President Barack Obama.

"He wants to fundamentally transform America," said Romney. "I want to restore America to the principles that made us the strongest nation on Earth."

Opponent Rick Santorum jumped on a comment Romney recently made. On the campaign trail, Romney told a reporter he opposed a Republican bill to block President Obama's policy on contraceptive insurance coverage, then later corrected himself to say he supports it.

Former Washington state senator Dino Rossi, who is supporting Romney, blamed the comment on the campaign schedule.

"You are going 12 to 14 to 16 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week. Can you misspeak once in awhile? Yeah, you certainly can. It is very easy to do. I've done it many times," said Rossi.

All the Republican candidates have now visited the state in advance of Saturday's caucuses. On Saturday morning, Washington state Republicans will conduct a straw poll and pick delegates to their county convention. The caucus is not binding, but it provides a boost to one candidate ahead of the big Super Tuesday contest happening in ten states.

According to a new KING 5 poll, Washington state Republican voters said 5:1 that Romney was the GOP candidate most likely to beat President Obama in November.

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