Romney cruises the Mississippi River at Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Romney cruises the Mississippi River at Dubuque

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Mitt Romney is on a five-day, six-state bus tour through key Midwestern states that included Iowa and Wisconsin.

Monday, the Republican presidential contender boarded the Spirit of Dubuque paddlewheel boat in the Ice Harbor at the Port of Dubuque for a 40-minute cruise and chance to pilot the popular key city vessel.

Mitt Romney told the invitation-only crowd of approximately 120 supporters it was his first time on a boat on the Mississippi River.

Marina O'Rourke-Rosenow was among the people listening to Romney speak on the boat.

"You're on the spirit of Dubuque, which is a wonderful boat for this area, and he's getting the opportunity to see what Dubuque really has to offer, which is the beauty of the Mississippi and the beauty of the area," O'Rourke-Rosenow said.

She's with Dubuque County Republican Women.

"Dubuque is not all Democratic, there is a strong Republican base here as well, and we are active and supporting, and we want to see the governor as our next president," O'Rourke-Rosenow said.

Iowa's 1st Congressional district GOP candidate Ben Lange addressed the crowd before both Ann and Mitt Romney spoke.

Gov. Romney told the crowd he wants to restore what he calls a strong America.

"With strong families and strong schools, a strong economy built with energy, with a balanced budget, with fair practices between labor and management, with opening up new markets for American goods," Romney said. "We're going to make American once again the economic powerhouse of the world."

Romney thanked the crowd as he wrapped up his speech.

"We're going to win Iowa and you're going to help me do it," he said. "Thanks, you guys!"

The boat ride led to Dubuque's AY McDonald Park, where Romney sat down with KWWL in his bus for an exclusive TV interview.

He discussed Iowa under Gov. Branstad's leadership as an example for national government.

"You know, Governor Branstad, I think, is doing a fine job helping guide the state of Iowa, and those kind of conservative principles, where you don't spend more money than you take in and where you make it clear to small businesses and to large businesses that you're welcome in this state, that government sees its job as helping encourage small business and business of all kinds to hire people: those policies work. Iowa's an example of that," he said.

He criticized President Obama for the National Health Care Law, growing the scope of government and favoring certain energy sources.

We questioned Romney about his lack of support for wind energy. Iowa is second only to Texas in wind energy production.

"I believe in developing all sources of energy that we have in abundance in America, whether that's ethanol, wind, solar or coal, natural gas and oil," Romney said. "The president has made it harder and harder to take advantage of our coal. He's made it almost impossible to take advantage of our energy from Canada, for instance. The keystone pipeline he said no to. If I'm president, we're going to have a policy that gets energy in this country at the most affordable price we can get it, build our economy, in part, by having energy that's reasonably priced."

KWWL asked about his response to President Obama's immigration move Friday that would allow young illegal immigrants to stay and work under certain conditions.

"We have to secure the border first. We have to also put in place an employment verification system. And with regard to the children of those who have come here illegally, we need a long-term solution, not a stop-gap measure," Romney said. "A long-term solution is what's required. I said during the campaign that the children of those who have come here illegally should be able to become residents if they have served in our military, and we'll look at other options as well."

He called Obama's move politically motivated, just months before the election.

On his bus tour, Romney said, he had a message for Iowans.

"I want them to understand that we can get this economy doing better for them and for their kids, that we have a president who may be well-meaning, but he has not done what it takes to get our economy going and a lot of Americans are really suffering," Romney said. "I understand how it is required to get this economy going."

He listed several things he'd do as president, including, "take advantage of our energy resources, get rid of Obamacare and finally get us on track to have a balanced budget. We do those things and you're going to see a resurgence of our economic growth and rising wages again, and the people of Iowa want to see a president who can do just that."

After leaving Dubuque, Romney's bus tour continued on to Davenport. There, he met with supporters at Le Claire Park.

Romney wraps up his six-state Every Town Counts Bus Tour Tuesday in Michigan.

Romney stopped in Janesville, Wis. Monday morning. Republican Governor Scott Walker joined Romney. Walker defeated a recall challenge earlier this month. Romney said jobs and the economy are priority number one. Romney vowed to keep the presidential campaign focused on those issues.

Watch the full KWWL exclusive TV interview with Romney.

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