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Romney Returns To Rally Charlotte Supporters

Mitt Romney delivered a 15 minute speech to supporters Friday at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. Photo: Julie Rose

Mitt Romney delivered a 15 minute speech to supporters Friday at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. Photo: Julie Rose Political attention on North Carolina is intensifying. Republican presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney returned to Charlotte for the second time in less than a month for a hastily-planned speech that drew hundreds. The grimy factory floor of a cast-iron and plastic pipe maker made sense for a speech about the economy. But apparently it was also a convenient choice for the Romney campaign: the company's chairman Frank Dowd had only recently made the invitation: "When I mentioned visiting Charlotte Pipe to Governor Romney about three weeks ago - that we would welcome him here - I never expected the call to come so soon!" says Dowd. Visits from both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will probably become a regular thing as the Republican Party works to keep the president from eking out another North Carolina win. On a conference call with reporters before Romney's speech, Democrats boasted of their more established "ground game" in the state. Romney supporters at Friday's event at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. Photo: Julie Rose Despite the last-minute notice, hundreds of Romney supporters came to see him at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. The candidate stuck to his usual economic talking points - accusing Obama of implementing the policies of "old school liberals" bloating government programs and taking marching orders from unions. "One of the first things he did when he signed the stimulus was to say that all of the federal projects have to be done by union labor, alright?" said Romney, eliciting "boos" from the crowd. "He also, by the way, grants waivers to Obamacare to unions - to his old friends." Actually, President Obama issued an executive order that encouraged government agencies use union labor for stimulus projects, but didn't require it. As for unions getting waivers to the health care law, hundreds of corporations have gotten them, too. North Carolina has one of the lowest rates of union participation in the nation, but Romney's anti-union message proved one of the best applause-getters of his speech in Charlotte. "We believe in freedom and letting people choose whether or not to be parts of unions and if I'm president, I'm gonna return that freedom to this country!" said Romney. Romney closed his 15-minute speech with a warm and fuzzy anecdote about a neighborhood coming together to landscape the home of his young niece whose husband was serving with the National Guard in Iraq. "This is the America that I love," he said, and asked his North Carolina supporters to help keep it that way.