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In Denver, Romney uses Obama's 2008 convention speech against him

Mitt Romney
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during an election night rally in Denver, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. AP Photo/Chris Carlson

DENVER -- On a cold, snowy night in Denver, before all the caucus votes were tallied, Mitt Romney spoke to supporters and reminded them of a different speech given in town four years earlier.

The remarks he referenced were not his own, but those of then-candidate Barack Obama, as he accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party in August 2008. Romney reminded the crowd that in that speech, Mr. Obama had said that the Democrats measured progress by the amount of people able to find jobs, the ability of Americans to see their incomes rise, "whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business," and an economy that "honors the dignity of work."

Citing unemployment numbers, a falling median income, slow start-up business growth and the millions of people on food stamps, Romney repeated before a crowd of about 200: "By his own definition, President Obama has failed. We will succeed."

Borrowing from Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign slogan "Change we can believe in," Romney said that now is the time for "fundamental, bold, dramatic change" from the president he says "is learning too little and too late."

"The presidency is not the place to learn how to lead," the GOP front-runner added. "It is a place to exercise the judgment and leadership that has been learned over a lifetime."

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Romney also spoke effusively on his father, who comes up often in his stump speeches, but not in his formal primary night addresses. Gov. George Romney emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, where he went on to become the head of American Motors and the governor or Michigan.

"For my Dad, America was the land of opportunity, where the circumstances of birth are no barrier to achieving ones dreams. In Dad's America, small business and entrepreneurs were encouraged, and respected," Romney said tonight.

Michigan, Romney's home state, is one of the next to vote in the primary process (on Feb. 28), and it will be crucial for him to have a strong showing after tonight.

Romney made no reference to Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul, but did reserve praise for Sen. Rick Santorum, who had already won in Missouri and Minnesota by the time he spoke. Later, Santorum also won in Colorado.

"This was a good night for Rick Santorum. I want to congratulate Senator Santorum, wish him the very best," Romney said. "We'll keep on campaigning down the road, but I expect to become the nominee with your help."

According to the Romney campaign, he tried to call Santorum, but was not able to connect. They have spoken on the phone after other primary races, as well as weeks after the Iowa caucuses, when Romney called Santorum upon learning that the latter had actually received more votes.

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After the speech, a man in the crowd allegedly tried to throw glitter on Romney, but was immediately whisked away by Secret Service. The only other time that Romney has been glittered was in Minnesota, on his only day of campaigning there, last week.

Josh Romney was the only immediate family member with Gov. Romney tonight, saying that his mother, Ann, was taking a few days off. The rest is short lived however -- immediately after Romney's speech wrapped, the campaign sent out a fundraising email under Ann's name, requesting $5 donations into a raffle to become a guest on the Romneys on the road. "Mitt and I have traveled thousands of miles on the road these last few months -- and we've got a whole lot more to go," reads the email.

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