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At rally, Romney praises Emmer's plan on taxes, jobs

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MItt Romney and Tom Emmer
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney fires up a crowd at the Ramada Mall of America Airport in Bloomington, Minn. as he campaigns with gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer Monday, Oct. 18, 2010.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Former Massachusetts Governor and likely 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is urging Minnesotans to support Republican Tom Emmer campaign for governor. 

In Bloomington, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sounded a lot like the 2012 presidential candidate most expect he will soon be. Romney criticized the Obama administration's agenda and the Democratic leaders of Congress, and accused liberals of trying to smother the American pioneer spirit.

Romney also praised the energy and passion of tea party enthusiasts.

Fresh from a fundraiser for Tom Emmer, Romney called Emmer an extraordinary person and credited Emmer for releasing a plan to balance the state budget without tax increases.

"We're going to see a continuation of policies of your great Gov. Tim Pawlenty."

"We're going to see a continuation of policies of your great Gov. Tim Pawlenty," Romney told the crowd. "We're going to make sure this guy is taking his place and keeping taxes low and building jobs. We're going to make sure that America's strong and that it keeps the principles that have much us the greatest nation in the history of the earth."

Among the couple of hundred people that attended the rally, Chris Kamp of Eden Prairie said a big reason he's backing Emmer is Emmer's opposition to raising taxes. 

"Absolutely; I mean when it comes to balancing a budget, when you and I have to balance our own budgets, we have to live within our means and I feel that government should do the same thing as opposed to just adding on more taxes for the rest of us," Kamp said.

Many national polls suggest Republicans have an edge over Democrats going into the midterm elections. But most of the polls taken in Minnesota show DFLer Mark Dayton ahead of Emmer, with Tom Horner from the Independence Party running a somewhat distant third. 

Kamp said he hoped Romney's visit would give Emmer's campaign a boost.

MItt Romney and Tom Emmer
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney greets Dick and Patty Borrell of Waverly, Minn. during a rally for gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer at the Ramada Mall of America Airport in Bloomington, Minn. Monday, Oct. 18, 2010.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Judy Labon, who was also at the rally, dismissed the notion that Emmer is behind in the race.

"I don't think you can take the polls that seriously quite frankly. The biggest poll, the most important poll, is the one on November 2," Labon said.

Minnesota Republican Party officials urged those at the rally to put up lawn signs, contact friends and neighbors, and volunteer in the final push to help elect Republicans on November 2.

So did Emmer.

"We can not look at each other on November 3 and never say to each other, 'if we would have, if we could have if we should have,'" Emmer said. "We absolutely have to give everything we have left."

Emmer rally
Chris Kamp waits at the Ramada Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. before the start of a rally for Tom Emmer Monday, Oct. 18, 2010.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Emmer's campaign declined to say how much money they brought in at the fundraiser Romney headlined prior to the public rally. After the rally Romney signed autographs and posed for pictures. 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been traveling the nation for months making similar campaign appearances. Like Romney, many expect him to launch a run for the White House. 

On the way out of the rally Romney called Pawlenty a "great friend" and "a wonderful guy" when asked whether he thought Pawlenty would make a good candidate for the White House but said little more. 

"We'll all find out what happens down the road," Romney said. "I don't think anyone's made any decisions like that yet."

Mitt Romney was the latest in a string of high profile Republicans to visit Minnesota on behalf of Tom Emmer. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich recently stumped for Emmer in Minnesota as did Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

This Saturday, President Obama is scheduled to rally Minnesota Democrats on behalf Mark Dayton. Vice President Joe Biden was in Minnesota for Dayton earlier this month, and former President Bill Clinton made a stop in mid-September.