He was in town for a book signing at Barnes and Noble at South Coast Plaza. The book's entitled, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. It's an excellent read. And he's a very friendly guy, seen here signing a book for the supporter just before me:
At the front of the line out front, a couple of hours earlier:
Folks waiting. This woman gave me permission for a snapshot, but refused to smile for the camera, hiding behind her sign:
The event was poorly organized. The line outside was useless. Supporters were already upstairs when the people from outside were ushered into the store. This is as close as I got while Romney made his introduction and thanked the crowd. Hundreds of people turned out for the entire event:
A surprisingly good picture, using the zoom here, with my wife's automatic digital Canon PowerShot A1000:
I didn't have to wait long to have my book signed -- it all happened pretty fast by this time, actually:
Mitt Romney's very pleasant. I introduced myself and we shook hands. He gladly posed for a photograph:
I read three chapters of No Apology while hanging out beforehand. In Chapter 1, Romney excoriates President Barack Obama's leadership and policies. Especially good is Romney's discussion of Obama's "American Apology Tour." He writes:
President Obama is well on his way toward engineering a dramatic shift in ... American foreign policy, based on his underlying attitudes.Romney also discusses President Obama's rejection of American exceptionalism and his embrace of the thesis of America's relative international decline. Romney wants nothing to do with such talk:
The first of these envisions America as a nation whose purpose is to arbitrate disputes rather than to advocate ideals, a country consciously seeking equidistance between allies and adversaries. We have never seen anything quite like that, really. And in positioning the United States in the way he has, President Obama has positioned himself as a figure transcending America instead of defending America.
The sentiment manifests itself in several different ways, including President Obama's American Apology Tour. Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined. It is his ways of signaling to foreign countries and leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable. There are anti-American fires burning all across the globe; President Obama's words are like kindling to them.
I reject the view that America must decline. I believe in American exceptional ism. I am convinced that we can act together to strengthen the nation, to preserve global leadership, and to protect freedom where it exists and promote it where it does not ...That passage previews the direction of the book. Romney's got a plan to restore the American economy, the health care system, the schools, etc. The book's a brisk read, and in that sense it's way less autobiographical that Sarah Palin's, Going Rogue.
The book signing was definitely a campaign event. Romney volunteers had supporters fill out contact cards, with sign-up information for Romney's PAC, "Free and Strong America." Volunteers were also distributing Romney yard signs directing supporters to the book tour website, "No Apology" (note that the tour hits Des Moines, Iowa, on March 29th):
You think that blue button-down is Romney's favorite shirt?
Thanks for reading and tune back in late tonight and tomorrow for my coverage of all the weekend's protest activity.