Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, delivered speeches to thousands at an Oakland County rally this afternoon.
Three days before Romney and Ryan will probably cinch the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the pair arrived at Long Family Orchard Farm and Cider Mill in Commerce Township, about twenty miles northwest of Detroit.
Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton was on the scene, updating us with the latest.
She told us the crowd cheered as Romney's motorcade arrived.
Paul Ryan spoke first.
"I wanna tell you something," he said. "We've got a big decision to make; we're going to be deciding the kind of country we want to be, and the kind of country we want to have, not just for the next four years, but for the next generation."
The vice presidential hopeful laid out a "clear choice of two futures" which U.S. voters will face at the polls in November.
Ryan then introduced Romney and his wife, Ann Romney.
Ann spoke first about the two growing up and falling in love in Michigan. She said she was choked up at the number of people in attendance at the rally. Commerce Township is only about 10 miles west of West Bloomfield, the couple's hometown.
"It's amazing that people in Michigan have not forgotten the promise of America, and the promise of my father and Mitt's father," she said. "Who made their livelihoods here, and they came from nothing." Her husband's father, George W. Romney, served as Michigan's governor from 1963 to 1969.
Romney then spoke, acknowledging the Empire State Building shooting this morning, thanking the first responders there and across the county, and also sending his prayers to L. Brooks Patterson and his driver.
"I love being home in this place that Ann and I were raised," he said. "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate; they know this is the place that we were born and raised."
He went on to list the "extraordinary challenges" the United States faces in government, from international threats, and job losses.
"These challenges we can overcome in one way, by coming together," he said. "This president tried. I'm convinced he tried. I think he was headed in the wrong direction is the problem."
Romney said he saw someone with a sign that read "Four more years."
"I don't want four more years of what we've had. Do you?" he asked the crowd, to which many shouted "No!" in response.
Differing his platform from the president's, Romney offered the audience his five part prescription to improve the United States.
- Establishing North American energy independence
- Creating training programs for adults and fixing our schools, putting kids and teachers first with unions behind
- Trade that works for America by opening new markets and cracking down on trade "cheaters" like China.
- Balancing America's budget by cutting the deficit and getting it to zero
- Helping small business, entrepreneurs and innovators by lowing their taxes, pairing down small business regulations, and repealing Obamacare.
"If we do those five things, we're going to see America charging back economically," he said.
In his twenty-minute speech, the presidential hopeful also addressed unemployment, poverty and the military.
"American strength is the best ally peace has ever known," he said. "Paul Ryan and I commit to you that every day in office, we will make American strength our priority."
Romney exited the stage to Kid Rock's "Born Free."
This was Romney's first appearance in the state since June. According to his schedule, his next stop will be in Tampa to prepare for the RNC.
-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom