PEWAUKEE, Wis.—Making a direct appeal to social conservatives, Mitt Romney reiterated his pledge to "defund" Planned Parenthood and defend the "sanctity of life" and religious freedom if elected president.
But speaking at a rally hosted by the conservative Faith & Freedom Coalition, Romney focused less on social issues and more on President Obama and his handling of the nation's economy.
The former Massachusetts governor repeatedly slammed Obama for his support of what he described as a "government-centered society"—a phrase Romney first debuted Friday in a speech that was heavy on general election themes.
"President Obama believes in a government-centered society," Romney said Saturday. "He doesn't call it that precisely, but you listen to his speeches, there's no question he believes government guiding our lives will do a better job in doing so than individuals pursuing their own freedoms in their own ways."
He accused Obama of continuing to "build a government that gets larger and larger" and questioned the president's broader commitment to the country. He told the crowd Obama "doesn't have the same kind of feelings" about America "as we do." He said the election is about determining "a vision for the country" and called the 2012 contest an "inflection point" for the country.
"On this Tuesday... you have an opportunity to vote, and take the next step in bringing back that special nature of being American," Romney declared.
But a speaker introducing Romney at a town hall meeting in Muskego a short time later took the anti-Obama rhetoric even further. Steve Ziegler, president of InPro Corporation, which hosted Romney, warned of unchecked "socialism" if Obama is re-elected.
"We're gonna see socialism unleashed on America like we've never seen before," Ziegler declared.
The audience was largely unresponsive to Ziegler's remarks, and Romney did not repeat the man's sentiments.
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