Mitt Romney gave the keynote speech of the first day of the Values Voter Summit, and the crowd was ready to welcome him warmly.  For all of the analysis of how Romney didn’t gain much acceptance with evangelicals, the welcome seemed to put that notion to rest.

Romney stated up front that he was there as a surrogate for John McCain and Sarah Palin.  He told the crowd that Palin could “herself put the lipstick on the pitbull”.  As for Obama, Romney hit him with his vote on protecting infanticide, which got a huge response.

Romney focused on foreign policy in his address.  China has begun a massive military build-up, and needs attention.  Who can we trust to remain toughest on this front, and demand the renovation of our armed services?  It won’t be the man who campaigned on ending new weapons projects.  “The best ally peace has ever known,” Romney said, “is a strong America.”

Leadership isn’t guaranteed in the histories of nations.  For the past few centuries, Britain ruled the waves.  Now we do, but that won’t remain the case unless we have leadership that values strength.  We need people willing to invest in military infrastructure to extend our strength into the new century.

In order to do that, we need a strong economy in the long term.  We leverage free enterprise, combined with freedom, in order to generate a dynamic, strong economy.  China likes free enterprise, too, but don’t combine it with freedom; they couch it in totalitarianism.  Russia uses a state-run model more than before, while the jihadists want to collapse all of the above.

McCain and Palin would strengthen the economy through leveraging free enterprise and a low-taxes strategy. They would also keep the government from nationalizing health care, and access America’s energy resources.  Obama, on the other hand, would raise taxes, push for greater government interference, and allow America to lose ground in the global marketplace.

Romney noted that some people think he should be home, pouting, after his loss in the primaries.  He said that the future of his children and their children hinge on this election.   He has no intention of sitting on the sidelines; he’s going to work for McCain, work for national strength, and exhorted the audience that “we have a lot of work to do”.

“Barack Obama is not ready to be President, and what’s more, he’s not right to be President.”