By Bret Hayworth
Sioux City Journal
SIOUX CITY — Stumping in Sioux City on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former U.S. senators Norm Coleman and Jim Talent said Romney will draw enough conservative voters to defeat President Barack Obama.
The two former Midwestern senators on Wednesday said Romney was the best conservative presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Both touted Romney’s understanding of the economy and what takes to create jobs.
“He is a turnaround guy,” said Talent, who represented Missouri.
He cited Romney’s decades of business experience, in organizing the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and as governor of Massachusetts.
Questioned after the event about the perception that Romney is a moderate who will not be embraced by conservatives, Talent said people should consider that, as governor, Romney cut state spending and “fought off” tax increases sought by Democrats controlling the Legislature.
Speaking to 25 people at Bev’s on the River, Coleman, of Minnesota, said the president is leading America on a path that is “destructive” and “frightening.”
Said Talent, “This government is effectively bankrupt now … and I am afraid it will be practically bankrupt” if Obama gets another four-year term.
Coleman said he’s glad Iowans will have the first opportunity to weigh in on presidential candidates when the Tuesday caucuses are held. If they support Romney, Coleman predicted, “You will be proud, you will say, ‘I did the right thing.’ ”
Coleman said Romney could draw in conservatives needed to win swing states like Iowa and Minnesota in November.
U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., was scheduled to appear in support of Romney, but did not make the Sioux City event. Thune was slated to appear with the two senators in Le Mars, Iowa, and Orange City, Iowa, as they undertook a three-stop swing in backing Romney.
Marvin Japel, of Sioux City, is leaning toward supporting former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, but wanted to hear about Romney. Japel attended the 2002 Olympics and enjoyed many sports there, saying he was grateful for Romney’s leadership of the event.
Romney was head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, credited with effectively handling financial issues with the games.
Romney campaigned in eastern Iowa Wednesday.