Romney returns to New Hampshire for 100th town hall

GOFFSTOWN, N.H. – Mitt Romney has hit the century mark.

Celebrating his 100th town hall meeting since launching his presidential bid last June, Romney introduced his running mate, Paul Ryan, to voters in the Granite State, thanking them for their support over the past year.

“You’ve been with me time and time again at town meetings like this,” Romney told a crowd of a few thousand during a picturesque outdoor rally. “You voted for me when it counted most and you got me the nomination in a lot of respects, and I owe a great deal to the people in New Hampshire.”  

Romney, along with Ryan, stressed the importance of leadership in governance, answering questions ranging from ending the war in Afghanistan to tackling our national debt. 

“We will not blame others,” Ryan promised.  “We will take responsibility. We will not duck the tough issues or kick the can down the road. We will get things done.”

Town hall events were a staple during the primaries – presenting voters with a personal feel for the candidates and the opportunity to question them about policy specifics.  And while they are unpredictable by nature, often sending candidates off-message through questions they can’t control, this one was not. 

With all eyes on Ryan, the congressman did his duty -- supporting the top of the ticket without distracting or deviating from the message. 

When asked by a member of the audience about Afghanistan for the first time in weeks, Romney declared he would consistently convey his message to the American people, and he criticized Obama for not doing so.   

“I will do everything in my power to transition from our military to their military as soon as possible, bring our men and women home and do so in a way consistent with our mission, which is to keep Afghanistan from being overrun by a new entity that would allow Afghanistan to be a launching point for terror again like it was on 9/11,” he said. 

Ryan agreed. "The president, in my opinion, has made decisions that are more political in nature than military in nature."

But noticeably absent was any specifics on a plan for withdrawal, something the Obama campaign was quick to point out.   

“The truth is that Romney has refused to put forth a plan for what he would do in Afghanistan,” Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith said in a written statement. “If he does have some secret plan, he owes it to our men and women in uniform to tell them.” 

In a campaign marked by statements on both sides often stretching the truth, Romney called attacks from Obama and Democrats “sad” and “disappointing” saying, “it seems that the first victim of an Obama campaign is the truth.” 

“I will not raise taxes on the American people. I will not raise taxes on middle income Americans,” Romney promised. “Mr. President, stop saying something that’s not the truth.”