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Iowa Straw Poll: Romney Kicks Off Candidate Speeches

AMES, Iowa -- Apropos of his likely finish in today's GOP straw poll, Mitt Romney was the first candidate to speak this afternoon to Republicans gathered at the Hilton Coliseum.

Romney attempted a bit of verbal gymnastics in his speech, calling for change in Washington in one breath and embracing President George W. Bush in the next.

"If there's ever been a time we need to see change in Washington it's now," said Romney, decrying the "bickering and partisanship and scorekeeping" in the nation's capital.

And yet, Romney quickly turned to praising President Bush. "There's no one that's perfect, but let's not forget one thing and that is he has kept us safe these last six years," Romney said to loud applause.

Romney generally delivered his standard stump speech -- strong military, strong economy and strong family values. Romney repeatedly received huge rounds of applause thanks to his campaign's success at packing the hall with plenty of supporters, many of whom were sporting yellow Romney T-shirts. Red Romney foam fingers also abounded.

The governor seemed energized by the crowd and, perhaps, by the prospect of a strong victory today. "Change begins in Iowa and change begins today," thundered Romney before leaving the stage to "A Little Less Talk & A Lot More Action" by country singer Toby Keith.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 11, 2007; 2:28 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Iowa Straw Poll: The Ron Paul Revolution

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