Romney makes his second Aiken stop

Associated Press
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spoke on immigration policy and his health care plan in Aiken.

AIKEN - Immigration and health care were the hot topics for presidential candidate Mitt Romney during his campaign stop in Aiken on Friday.

"The real key is to make sure we shut off magnets and city sanctuaries," he said when discussing illegal immigrants. This includes limiting jobs and city laws that protect illegal immigrants, he said.

On health care, the former Massachusetts governor said, "Don't put government in the health care business; let each state craft programs."

He said he believes health care should remain private with state laws protecting citizens so every person can receive coverage through insurance agencies.

His visit created a buzz among the standing-room-only crowd of 120 in a town-hall session at the Aiken Center for the Arts.

"It was absolutely great to hear what he said," said Marianne Pecoraro, of Aiken. "He knows what the important issues are for the country, and we need someone who can execute."

Mrs. Pecoraro and Susan Trzaskoma, of Aiken, missed Mr. Romney on his first visit in January and said they were excited to see that Aiken was important enough for a second trip.

"I think it is an indication that he doesn't cut corners and didn't take this as 'just another stop,'" Mrs. Trzaskoma said.

South Carolina's primary has proven to be a good predictor of the Republican candidate for president.

Mr. Romney spoke for about 30 minutes and also addressed the war in Iraq, saying, "We made a lot of mistakes following Saddam Hussein's fall," but, "We need to support the surge and show an outpouring of support for them (troops)."

His plan after the surge includes falling to a support role in Iraq and then to a standby role.

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or julia.sellers@augustachronicle.com