Romney Invokes Game Show Before Teens
By Juliet Eilperin
GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney invoked a decades-old game show today to urge a group of teenagers here to stay in school and avoid having children before marriage.
Echoing the conservative values message he championed early on in his presidential campaign, Romney spoke at length about Olympic role models and the need to make wise choices to a packed audience at Grand Blanc High School. Students were warned before the speech by a school official that "absolutely no laser pointers will be tolerated."
Recalling how he watched "Let's Make a Deal" as a teenager, he told the crowd of more than 2,000 students that they had an advantage over that game show's contestants when making life decisions because "you get to make the trade, but you know what's behind the curtain. You're not blind." (He mentioned that there's a version of "Let's Make a Deal" airing today, which is not quite right; presumably he meant to refer to the current hit show "Deal or No Deal.")
Romney urged the students to attend college, avoid drugs and marry before having children. "I believe marriage is essential," he said, adding that if the students were like his father they would discover marriage would bring them "the most happiness you can imagine."
That line only drew modest applause, but the crowd grew more enthusiastic when Romney pledged to aid the state's ailing economy. "I will not rest, if I'm president of the United States, until Michigan is brought back," he said, drawing a loud cheer along with clapping.
While most of the attendees -- including the cheerleaders and marching band who welcomed Romney onstage -- are too young to vote in tomorrow's primary, several said they were pleased he was paying attention to their state.
Jerry Craney, a 16-year-old junior, said he liked the way the candidate "was talking about concentrating on Michigan and reforming Michigan."
And Chris Contreras, an 18-year-old senior who is a registered Republican, said Romney had won his vote with the speech. "I believe he's going to help out Michigan," he said.
Web Politics Editor
January 14, 2008; 2:33 PM ET
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