ATLANTIC, Iowa -- Mitt Romney said he's encouraged by his apparent frontrunner status but isn't necessarily counting on winning Tuesday's Iowa caucuses.
“I'm pretty confident we'll have a good night Tuesday,” Romney said Sunday during a campaign stop at Family Table restaurant. “I don't know who will win.''
Romney is crisscrossing the state in a last-minute attempt to win over undecided Republican voters. He is believed to hold a narrow lead over Ron Paul among likely GOP voters.
Until recently, he had not spent much time in the Hawkeye State, instead concentrating on New Hampshire and elsewhere.
Sunday was devoted to western Iowa. The candidate also appeared in Council Bluffs, drawing several hundred people to Bayliss Park Hall.
The former Massachusetts governor is one of six candidates hoping to come out on top Tuesday. The Iowa caucuses are the first step in the presidential nominating process.
Locals dining at the Atlantic restaurant were bombarded with Romney supporters, staffers and reporters. There was no place to stand, much less sit. Reporters spilled out the doorway, shivering in the chilly afternoon breeze.
Romney told the crowd he would cut government spending by eliminating unnecessary programs and cut 10 percent of federal employees through attrition.
He said those workers should receive pay comparable to the private sector. “I don't think people who are government servants should make more than the people who are paying them.”
He also said he would work to repeal the health care law championed by President Obama and let states run the Medicaid program.
In Council Bluffs, Romney never mentioned any of his GOP opponents, focusing squarely on Obama.
“It's disappointing to see a president who promised so much deliver so little,'' he said.
Obama did not cause the recession, he said, but his policies have made it worse.
They threaten to turn America into a “European welfare state, an entitlement society,” he said, rather than one where ordinary Americans can pursue their dreams.
Rita Sealock of Council Bluffs, who described herself as a moderate Republican, supported Romney in 2008 and will caucus for him again on Tuesday.
She said Romney has accomplished much in the private sector and government, often making unpopular decisions. She was pleased to hear him say he would work with Democrats to find common ground.
“I think he's very genuine,'' Sealock said.
World-Herald staff writer Joseph Brennan contributed to this report.
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