Photo by Joe Moylan

Mitt Romney today in Craig: Obama 'out of excuses'



Mitt Romney speaks to Craig


Audrey Danner introduces Mitt Romney

Local officials, including a Romney relative in Moffat County, comment on today's appearance

Sherman Romney, Moffat County resident, area attorney, second cousin of Mitt

“I came out to support the next president of the United States. I think he is a great man and a great leader. We need a business leader in this country. We need someone who understands business. I think he’s the man. He knows how to balance a budget, he knows how to run a business, he will be able to run a country.

“It was so historic to have him here in Craig. I thought it was a great speech and I think he covered everything he needed to cover.”

Audrey Danner, Moffat County Commissioner

“I was honored to introduce him to northwest Colorado, so that we can talk about our plans for our local resources, animals and wildlife. Those are important for our federal government to know that we do have our local plans on the ground to protect our Sage Grouse, our energy…we do it right and we want to promote that.”

Terry Carwile, Craig Mayor

“It’s a historic day for downtown Craig and for Moffat County. In modern times, no candidate of this prominence has ever been to this community.

“I’m very proud of our community and I’m sure the governor felt like he received a warm welcome. This is the first event I have ever been to where the Secret Service was involved and I am very happy with the way city staff and law enforcement cooperated on the event.

“He said words that spoke to me that he does not want to see the industry burdened with regulations. Trapper, for all of the years I worked out there, was a very environmentally responsible company and I am sure the same can be said for Colowyo. All of that land out by Hayden was former coal mines and it has been reclaimed in better condition than before the mines started.”

Tom Mathers, Moffat County Commissioner

“It was awesome. It was very impressive. Right now, he is our salvation for Moffat County.

“He didn’t say anything specific about what he is going to do for energy, but I liked his comment about Obama being in favor of energy development as long as it is above ground.”

Tom Gray, Moffat County Commissioner

“I appreciate he cares enough about energy and natural resources to come here. I know it will be good for his campaign to show a community that has really been affected (by regulations).

“I appreciated his comments about education. I think our education system is a mess. We need freedom of choice in education, not for the teacher’s unions, but for the kids.”

“Our energy industry is not asking for favors, it’s just asking for a level playing field, which it hasn’t had. I don’t know exactly what he will do in regards to regulations, but I do believe he will give us a level playing field and that’s really all we ask.”

Chuck Grobe, candidate for Moffat County Commission

“It was great to have somebody of that stature come to Craig, to hear what our problems are first hand and visit us.”

Sacha Weis, Libertarian candidate for Colorado Senate District 8

“I don’t believe he can fix it (energy). I don’t believe either candidate (Romney or Obama) will do anything for our issues. I think we have too many regulations, which is crippling us. Go Gary Johnson.

“I would have been up closer if I didn’t have a job.”

Rick Barnes, candidate for Moffat County Commission

“We need him. If we don’t get someone in there who can turn the energy industry around we’re sunk. Craig is sunk, Moffat County is sunk, northwest Colorado is sunk, the state of Colorado is sunk and ultimately the whole United States is sunk. The regulations are killing us.”

Colorado House District 57 Rep. Randy Baumgardner

“Mitt was just here, it was great turnout and the people of northwest Colorado are showing our next president that we need these jobs. Obama is against coal. He says he’s for it, but everything he has done is to help green energy.

“All he’s doing is over regulating underground minerals. At least Mitt is here to hear what we have to say, which I think is great.”

Craig residents react to Romney's speech downtown

The following are quotes from local residents who attended Mitt Romney's rally Tuesday morning in downtown Craig. About 2,000 people, or more by some estimates, attended the event to hear the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

“I’m just here to see what it’s all about," said Michael Samuelson, 18, of Craig. "It’s a big opportunity for our town.”

“I’ve been a Republican forever, but I liked his stance on giving energy a chance. … I know it’s sad to see that people want to regulate our business out of business," said Jack Reed, 43, a Craig resident and Twentymile Coal Co. employee.

“It just strengthened my position that Romney’s not a Communist, he’s for the free market … and small business,” said Alan Switzler, 45, of Craig.

“We’re really excited he’s here. … It shows his willingness to pay attention to the little people, not just the big people," said Ron Schnackenberg, of Craig.

Additonal statements from Romney's speech

The following are segments from Mitt Romney's speech during his Tuesday campaign stop in Alice Pleasant Park in Craig:

“(Frank and Kerry Moe) spoke about the challenges that are being faced by the people here in Craig and that’s something I saw, and we said, ‘we got to come here and let you know that we care about what’s happening in Craig, we care about what’s happening in rural America, we care about what’s happening in middle America.' We want to bring help to the people who need help today”

“If you’re one of those that believes in something bigger than yourself and serves something bigger than yourself, then you qualify as part of the greatest generation.”

“I love the men and women of our armed forces and appreciate their sacrifice to this great nation. They give themselves to something bigger than themselves.”

“I can assure you that if I get elected, with your help I will make things better.”

“Now, the last four years have been a disappointment for the American people.”

“This man (President Obama) is out of ideas, he’s out of excuses, and in November we’re going to make sure and vote him out of office.”

Update — 10:04 a.m.

Luke Schafer, of the Colorado Environmental Coalition in Craig, has released the following statement concerning Mitt Romney's visit to Craig:

"Moffat County, Colo., has a long history of fossil fuel development, with several coal mines, a large coal-fired power plant and significant amounts of oil and gas development. It is also home to a National Monument, hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness lands, huge herds of big game, the last stronghold for greater sage grouse in Colorado and the last largely undammed tributary to the Colorado River.

"The argument that we can have development or conservation — not both — is a false choice. Development of our natural resources can happen in a responsible manner that doesn’t unduly harm our air, water, wildlife and quality of life. To think otherwise is a defeatist attitude contrary to the custom and culture of communities like Craig, Colo.

"However, non-extractive industry jobs deserve the same degree of attention as well. Moffat County, Colo., annually sees over $30 million in economic impact and over 300 jobs derived from hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.

"Coloradans don’t want to hear more rhetoric or false choices. We want our leaders to find solutions that ensure that our wonderful state can be enjoyed by future generations."

Update — 9:34 a.m.

Some statements from GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney today at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig:

"This president's policies have made it harder for America to get on its feet again."

"I want coal, gas, oil, nuclear, as well as renewables."

"I want to make sure we have a president who cares more about kids than he does the teachers' union."

"I want government that's an ally of business not an enemy."

"Coal equals jobs."

More photos, updates and videos coming. Stick with

Update — 7:36 a.m.

Craig Daily Press reporters at today's Mitt Romney event in downtown Craig just caught up with two elected officials to get their opinions on the presidential candidate's visit.

"I think this is monumental, I really do," said Ray Beck, a Craig City Council member. "This is history in the making."

"I just want to see what he has to say and see where he's going to stand on the energy policy of Northwest Colorado," said Randy Baumgardner, a Republican state legislator representing House District 57. "Coal is a very important part of our economy here."

The state rep said he's encouraged by Romney's visit to Craig, a small community.

"It shows he's interested not only in the urban areas and cities, but also in rural Colorado," he said.

6:30 a.m.

Officials from the City of Craig and Mitt Romney’s campaign were out early this morning preparing downtown Craig for the presumptive Republican presidential candidate’s campaign stop scheduled for later this morning.

Romney is slated to speak at 8:30 a.m. in Alice Pleasant Park, located in the 500 block of Yampa Avenue. According to a spokesperson from the campaign, the former Massachusetts governor is expected to talk about energy and jobs during the stop, both key issues for Craig and Moffat County voters, according to the Colorado Mining Association.

The Romney appearance in the heart of coal country indicates that access to affordable energy and jobs are important issues in the 2012 Presidential election campaign, the association reported in a news release.

Northwest Colorado accounts for nearly 60 percent of the state’s coal production. Coal provides 68 percent of Colorado’s electricity. Colorado is the ninth leading coal producing state, and generates more than $130 million annually in federal, state and local royalties and taxes, according to the release.

“Colorado has seen firsthand the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s anti-coal policies,” Colorado Mining Association President Stuart Sanderson said in the release. “We need to be encouraging the use of this resource.”

Romney’s appearance in one of Colorado’s principal coal mining areas signals his interest in and support for rational policies that will enable America to reach its full potential. Communities like Craig that rely so heavily on the jobs that mining creates, and the energy consumers throughout Colorado who benefit from affordable electricity, look forward to hearing Governor Romney’s vision for America’s energy future, according to the release.

Visit throughout the day for updates of updates of Romney’s visit, including live updates, photos and video of Romney’s remarks at Alice Pleasant Park.

Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.


Jason Phillips 4 years, 11 months ago

Why are tax-payer funded school buses being used to display partisan campaign slogans?


Colette Erickson 4 years, 11 months ago

Because no one in a decision-making role has enough smarts to realize that is inappropriate. I want a partial rebate on the portion of my taxes that paid for those buses.


Terrie Barrie 4 years, 11 months ago

Here's another sign-related issue. My husband and I brought signs to hopefully draw national attention to the problems associated with the sick nuclear weapons compensation program. One said "Help Sick Nuke Workers", the other "Justice for Sick Nuke Workers". The campaign folks wanted to see what the signs said. We showed it to them. We weren't allowed to bring them into the park and had to leave them up against the building. We were told no signs would be allowed. We were ok with that, if it was applied to everyone. However, we saw three signs on a table and about three more people carrying their signs. I went back and asked the Romney official about why and basically just got shrugged shoulders in response. I asked if I could take our signs in, since others are and were told no. I don't know if political rallies are permitted to limit the types of signs but this did take place in a public area. Anyone who knows the answer, I'd love to know.


Marilynn Hill 4 years, 11 months ago

The political signage on school buses is an interesting question. Depends if they rented the buses or not, but I think that is for transportation only; not posting signs on the buses to support a partisan event.

Would punt that one over to Mathers, Gray or Danner with the MOCO Commissioners office.

Taxpayer funds were going to be used to pay overtime for city employees, at least according to Saturday's CDP and it is a public park and not a private paid event; seems very unfortunate on the Romney staff side to be clueless, but most campaign workers on all sides are clueless about the First Amendment and free speech when it comes to political rallies. Arg!


Sacha Mero 4 years, 11 months ago

I am pretty sure they rented the buses from the school district to transport the mine workers who came in. This was done at 20 Mile's expense I believe... Unless the campaign paid for it, which actually wouldn't suprise me.


Terrie Barrie 4 years, 11 months ago

I just found this slide show on the Denver Post website. Looks like a lot of people were allowed to bring their signs to the rally.

See slides 1, 5, 7, 11 and 14.

I would like the Romney campaign to explain why our two signs were not deemed to be acceptable to display at the rally. I wish I could upload the picture of our signs. Nothing offensive in them at all unless asking for justice is offensive.


Sage_Sam 4 years, 11 months ago

Where is the 2000 people estimate coming from? Didn't look like there was anywhere near that many people there.


Marilynn Hill 4 years, 11 months ago

Can anyone give me a link(s) to the EPA Administrative rules, White House and Congressional records that show what the current and past POTUS' is/were doing to take away coal jobs?


El_Why 4 years, 11 months ago

The buses were rented. I believe the signs were put up by the workers who came on the buses. If we can stop having kittens over these things and focus on the fact that our economy is in shambles, there may just be hope for this country yet. I don't hear any Dems crying and whining about Obama using taxpayer money to traipse around on his campaign trips, or using taxpayer money to send his family off on expensive vacations. But, OH MY GOD...if we think taxpayer money is going to pay for security and crowd control at a Republican candidate's event, it's the end of the world. I love that Romney came to our corner of the state. Not only does it give us a chance to participate in a rare and unique part of the democratic system, but it also provides hours of entertainment watching the local Democrats having conniption fits over every little thing.


El_Why 4 years, 11 months ago

Sage Sam -- were you actually there, or are you basing your "sage" comment on the photos? I was there, and I'm pretty sure it was much more than 2000 people.


Sage_Sam 4 years, 11 months ago

Nope, I was there. Didn't seem like there was anywhere near that many people crammed in the park.


El_Why 4 years, 11 months ago

I was towards the back, standing on a table to try to see. It was pretty packed. The line to get in was at least three blocks long, and that was after they had been admitting people for a while. Still -- 2000 people on a work day in an area as rural as ours...not bad.


Sage_Sam 4 years, 11 months ago

My guess was around 800 or so, but I suppose it could have been more. I was just wondering if that was the estimate from the police or the campaign. I expect a campaign to inflate figures some, since that's their job.

However, I'm just basing it on what I've experienced at crowded concerts.


El_Why 4 years, 11 months ago

800 is way too low. The first 1300 people were supposed to be able to stand in a special section closer to the stage. That section was full and closed off way before I got there, and the rest of the grounds were packed, too. Did you see the guys from the mine? There were 200 of them from Twentymile, alone (that's who rented the buses), and I saw a huge number of people who weren't miners.


jaxx 4 years, 11 months ago

Great having Mitt Romney stop in today....... he brought up several points that show why we need a change in leadership. Great job Twentmile coal for busing their employees down in support of Governor Romney. Nice to see in person the next President of the USA! Hats off also to Frank and Kerri Moe for caring so much about their community and what they believe.


craignative 4 years, 11 months ago

I have to commend the Moe's for contacting the Romney campaign to get Romney to come to our corner of the state. It appears as if Romney may have some compasion for our concerns over energy production and the regulation that has gone on, not only under Obama's administration, but let us not forget Ritter's administration for really clamping down on the energy industry in Western Colorado. I am pretty comfortable saying that I don't believe Craig, or even Western Colorado, will get a visit from Obama himself. I didn't get to see the speech in person but have heard many good things. Let's see if those things come to fruition after November.


Jon Pfeifer 4 years, 11 months ago

Justiceortruth, here is the link. The EPA has proposed regulations, and Obama supports them, that would essentially make it impossible for any new coal power plants to be built. They have basically decided to eliminate the entire coal industry in the United States over the long term. As the New York Times said, "The Obama administration’s proposed rule to control greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants — the first ever — could go far toward closing out the era of old-fashioned coal-burning power generation." Obama is no friend to the coal industry.


Colette Erickson 4 years, 11 months ago

He said nothing substantive - just a bunch of platitudes and pandering.


Neal Harkner 4 years, 11 months ago

I don't have a problem arguing the effects of state and federal regulations on coal-fired power plants in regard to increased costs to providers and consumers, job losses due to conversion of existing plants from coal to natural gas, and the overall effect on the state's generating capacity due to the amount of costs required to bring a new facility online.

The nonstop propaganda and half-truths, however, wear me out to no end.

The biggest one lately is that if the EPA has its way the coal mines are all gonna shut down. Really? Because we're the only country in the world using coal? Even if the feds clamp down on coal (not likely), the coal mines are safe because they're still going to have customers.

Two big potential customers come to mind in India and China. China still doesn't have enough coal to power the Pullman Towns that make all the cheap crap we buy from Wal-Mart on a daily basis, and India has ravenous consumer demand for coal as well. As an added bonus selling our coal to the Chinese gives us a chance to bend them over the same barrel they've had us bent over for 25 years.


jd 4 years, 11 months ago

Buff_bronc_fan -Buses were used as crowd comtrol. Small town small budget, cost saving measure 3canines - will send you $12.00 for use of bus cost you justiceortruth - it is ok to pay overtime for bear removal, Grand Old West Days, Whittle of the Woods, or any other event in Craig other than a presidential campaign visit? satorifound - You have no clue - not everyone lives off the goverment - some stand on their own


Jason Phillips 4 years, 11 months ago

Tip my cap to Mitt - if he wants to drive to NW Colorado for a campaign stop and happens to get a photo op with one of the school buses then that's fine with me.

I just probably wouldn't have let the buses be used at a political campaign event if I were running the bus garage.


Marilynn Hill 4 years, 11 months ago point was not questioning the public funds being used, but hey let's do that as well. I was just questioning the limiting of signs the campaign didn't want to be seen. The point is that the event was held in a public park and a dubbed a public gathering, no one, even if you don't like what their signs may say shoud be held back because the campaign staff was uncomfortable with the First Amendment.

I have never been comfortable with the party the Parks & Rec puts on AKA 'Whittle The Woods' especially because it does so little to pay for itself.


WrestlinRockies 4 years, 11 months ago

Someone should have glittered bombed him again.

I couldn't hold up my signs because I have too many of them.

But the most important one said something like this....

"It was a good attempt Mitt....Mr. Obama thanks you for your congratulations on his winning of a second term in the White House".

4 years from now Mitt may have a chance but not this time around!!!!

Barack, Barack, Barack...!!!!


Sacha Mero 4 years, 11 months ago

jd- where did I say everyone lived off the government? I had a pretty basic statement there and I don't see where you would get that. I wasn't even pro or con. shrug A bit defensive?


nikobesti 4 years, 11 months ago

More paranoia from Moffat County. I remember several years ago when Obama was elected, much of Moffat County had conspiracy theories on how Obama was going to take away everyone’s guns. 3.5 years later and Obama has done absolutely NOTHING to limit your Second Amendment rights. These fears over shutting down coal mines and power plants are the same thing—just an excuse to do some fear mongering to rally people behind your cause even though there is absolutely no imminent threat of Moffat and Routt’s coal mines being shut down. The same commissioners and candidates are trying to contend Obama is shutting down oil and gas development. Yet despite what the “no restrictions” alarmists are saying, domestic oil and gas development has increased under Obama. But these folks never let facts bother them, so why now, right?

If you disagree, please tell me which specific Obama regulations have cost Moffat County jobs. I find your contentions that Obama hates coal quite funny given that the mines in NW CO are HIRING people right now.

You all are going to vote for Romney anyway. Good for you. But I have call BS on the "Obama is shutting down coal" scare tactics.


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