Romney Tells Mich. Voters He Can Beat Obama

Arizona and Michigan voters cast their ballots Tuesday in the Republican presidential primary. A month ago, nobody expected these states to be consequential, but it's clear that the results could dramatically change the direction of the race.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm David Greene.

Michigan and Arizona cast votes today in Republican presidential primaries. A month ago nobody expected these states to matter all that much. But the GOP race still seems far from decided and each state is leaving its mark.

A lot of the attention today is focused on Michigan. The polls are close there and it's Mitt Romney's home state. A win in Michigan for Rick Santorum would be especially painful for Romney.

Yesterday, both Romney and Santorum took road trips across the state. NPR had reporters with both campaigns. We'll have two stories now. Let's start with Ari Shapiro on Romney's final election eve rally.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: The scene at the Royal Oak Music Theatre felt nothing like a typical Romney rally. For starters, there was beer. Teenagers on stage waved signs. One said "Romney Rocks." Not a typical description of this buttoned-up candidate. Then there was the special musical guest, whose identity was shrouded in secrecy until the last moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORN FREE")

KID ROCK: (Singing) I was born free. I was born free.

SHAPIRO: Most of Kid Rock's repertoire is not suitable for a family audience. But this song, "Born Free," is the Romney campaign's anthem. It plays on repeat at the beginning and end of every rally. This was the first time the Romney crowd heard it live.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORN FREE")

ROCK: (Singing) Free, like a river raging, strong...

SHAPIRO: Romney's election eve stump speech did not even hint that there are other Republicans still in the race.

MITT ROMNEY: People across Michigan and across the nation are going to have to say what do we want in our next president? We know what we have now. A guy who's an eloquent speaker who made a lot of promises he hasn't been able to keep.

SHAPIRO: As he has throughout this race, he argued that his experience running businesses makes him uniquely suited to fix the U.S. economy. Romney explained why he believes he'll beat President Obama in November.

ROMNEY: My commitment to getting America working again will be second to none, and for that reason I'm going to win in Michigan and I'm going to win across the country.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

SHAPIRO: Then he added, almost as an afterthought, to get to that spot of course, I first got to be the nominee.

Ari Shapiro, traveling with the Romney campaign in Detroit.

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