New Hampshire welcomed Iowa caucus winner Mitt Romney with thunderous applause this afternoon, but the tone quickly changed when several audience members at a rally peppered him with questions that varied in tone from combative to inquisitive.
The first came from a man who identified himself as an Occupy Boston and Occupy New Hampshire protester. He wanted to know why the former Massachusetts governor considers corporations people and why he wants to help them even though their profits are going up while workers’ wagers are declining.
The question might have rattled the Mitt Romney who ran in 2008, but the 2012 Romney was poised, if a bit testy during a brief back-and-forth when the man interrupted him.
He said businesses are people because they are made up of groups of them. And he said a welcoming business climate encourage companies to invest in the economy and hire workers, which helps everyone.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. – who fought and won a bitter primary battle with Mr. Romney in 2008 now is throwing his support behind him. He appeared with him today at Manchester Central High School for Mr. Romney’s first post-Iowa rally.
“New Hampshire is the state that will catapult [Mr. Romney] into victory in a very short time and that’s why I’m here,” said Mr. McCain, whose 2008 New Hampshire win fueled more victories that ultimately won him the 2008 nomination.
Mr. Romney, meanwhile, recalled awaiting last night’s Iowa returns, in which he ultimately edged out former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
“My goodness. What a squeaker,” he said to the New Hampshire crowd. “The question is: Can we do better here? Do you think we can get more than an eight-vote margin in New Hampshire? I certainly hope so.”
In a short speech, he laid out his plans to repeal President Obama’s health care plan, authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, create jobs and reform welfare.