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Mitt Romney visits Daytona 500, invokes NASCAR connection

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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Mitt Romney chats with Jimmie Johnson. (Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Mitt Romney paid a visit to Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, and blamed President Obama for the rain delay.

Kidding! (Maybe. We didn't hear every word he said all day.) But what he did do was talk to the drivers and the fans, and he also spent a bit of time chatting with Sirius/XM about NASCAR, the automotive industry and his own plans for his future.

"I happen to be a son of Detroit, if you will, so I like the cars that are made in America and that have the American brands - Ford, Chevy and Dodge and so forth," he said. "So it's kind of fun to tie back to old roots.  My dad was a car guy, head of a car company, and so I've got Detroit in my veins.  So it's fun to be here and to see the connection to some of the folks that were drivers of the past and drivers of today."

Of course, not everyone was thrilled with Romney's presence; the United Auto Workers announced plans to fly a banner with the line "Mitt Romney: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" over the speedway, a reference to a recent Romney speech. With the weather as dicey as it was, however, it's not certain if the banner flew, or if so, for how long.

When asked for his pick to win, Romney turned straight politician: "I do [have a pick], but I'm not going to tell you who it is," he said. "I don't feel like I want to jinx anybody.  There are a lot of folks that I've had the chance to meet over the years, NASCAR drivers and some of the team owners as well, so I'm just pulling for a good race.  But in the back of my mind I know who I'd like to win."

As for his own prospects for victory, both in the Republican primaries and the general election? Romney also used the time-honored campaign trick of yoking his message to his location: "Well, I think we're going to win both in Arizona and Michigan," he said. "We came from behind but, a bit like NASCAR, you don't judge the finish by the first lap.  When things were getting going we were about 15 points behind in Michigan but right now it looks like we're pulling ahead.  I sure hope so.  And with a good send-off from Michigan and Arizona, then we go on to Super Tuesday, states like Ohio and Tennessee and Idaho and so forth."

And there you have it. We hope to bring you more exciting updates from Daytona soon.

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