ABC News’ Emily Friedman ( @EmilyABC) reports: Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney likes Iowa, and he wants Iowans to know.
Speaking at the Des Moines Partnership’s Presidential Forum Speaker Series, Romney, who said he’ll announced his campaign for presidency next week in New Hampshire, teased the audience, “You’ll see more of me than you’d like I’m afraid in Iowa.”
Again and again he made reference to his love of Iowa, saying, “You’ll have plenty of opportunity to see me,” and then, “I care about Iowa.”
Romney added, “Iowa plays a critical role in the process of selecting the nominee and the president.”
“I’ll be here plenty and you’ll get to know me plenty,” he said, before backpedaling a bit, “Of course, I’ll be going to other states as well.”
But one woman in the audience wasn’t buying it and asked the former Massachusetts governor why, if he loves Iowa so much, he isn’t announcing his candidacy for presidency in the Hawkeye state.
Romney responded, “You have to have one place – and New Hampshire is an early state too.”
“And by the way, I’m here today,” he added, laughing.
Later he was dogged by the same question – which this time he did not answer – when a woman asked, “We fight so hard against New Hampshire for the first caucus and you won’t announce here?”
As for the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa scheduled for August of this year, Romney said that he isn’t sure whether he’ll attend and that it’s up to “the political people to figure out” after his big announcement next week.
Romney won the 2007 Ames Straw Pool with more than 30 percent of the vote.
And as the fire alarms rang and Romney was forced to leave the event earlier than planned –- thanks to a frenetic bag of popcorn –- the presidential hopeful worked the crowd, remarking as he took a photograph with a supporter, “This might be worth something one day.”
But modesty wasn’t lost on Romney, who when handed a photograph of the White House to autograph said, “Well, this might be a little presumptuous.”