(CBS News) SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Scott Walker's solid victory in Tuesday's Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election a vote in favor of conservative principles that will "echo throughout the country."
Speaking at a fundraiser Wednesday at the San Antonio Marriott Hotel that was estimated to have raised nearly $3.5 million, Romney noted that Walker is the first governor to survive a recall election. He said the results showed that some Democrats and independents are as interested as Republicans in reducing the size of government.
"What happened yesterday was, people looked at a Republican governor, a conservative, and even though they may have been Democrat or independent, they looked at the record of a conservative who cut back on the size of government, who held down taxes, who said we had to reform - in this case public sector unions that asked for too much - and then (they) went to the polls," Romney told the crowd of over 380 people who paid a minimum of $2,500 apiece.
Speaking later in a telephone town hall with more than 100,000 members of the National Federation of Independent Business, a small business advocacy group, Romney predicted that voters everywhere would follow the lead of Wisconsin in November. And he continued his attacks on President Obama's economic policies, portraying him as naive on business matters.
"I heard the other day that the president's spokesman said, 'You know Mitt Romney was in business but he was trying to earn a profit, not just trying to hire people.'" Romney said. "It's like well, I have to tell you, that's sort of what business is about. The free enterprise system is about people taking a risk to earn a return, to earn a profit and if they do, they're able to hire more people. Profits and people go together, if you're talking about creating new jobs."
After fielding questions on a variety of business-related topics - from how he would ease federal regulations to his plans for creating more stable tax rates - Romney implored the audience to speak to their employees about how their businesses would be affected by the upcoming election.
"I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope you pass those along to your employees," Romney said, before quickly adding, "Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business. Because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision."