MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County Republicans celebrated their 20th annual Lincoln Day event at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven with a special guest, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
It was standing room only for the crowd of more than 1,200, who each paid $50 to enjoy the dinner and hear Mr. Romney speak.
The event began with a patriotic ceremony, which included a military color guard followed by the pledge of allegiance to the flag and the national anthem, at which time the entire crowd began singing along with the vocalist.
The former Massachusetts Governor and businessman was moved by the rendition and thanked everyone for their love of America.
During the approximately 40-minute speech, Romney chose not to mention his other fellow Republican candidates for the GOP nomination for president.
Instead, he focused his platform and why he would make a better leader than President Barack Obama.
"Sometimes I think the president doesn’t understand what it is that makes America unique," said Romney. "He thinks every problem should be solved by government."
Romney said it is America's pioneering spirit and entrepreneurs who will help repair the nation's lagging economy.
Romney, a successful businessman before becoming governor, said as president, he will shrink big government and repair the economy by expanding and enforcing fair trade.
"If I'm president, we’ll have more trade and open up more markets. We will crack down on free trade, but cheat," said Romney, naming China and citing some of their business practices.
It’s a message that resonated with the crowd.
Nick Palermo, of Mayfield Heights, said, "He’s honest and he's economy driven--the man to get the economy where it needs to be."
At one point, Romney took a jab at President Obama saying, "In order to create jobs, it helps to have had a job."
He also promised to do away with "Obama-care," referring to the president's health care plan, and he promised to open an oil pipeline from Canada, calling it a "no brainer."
Recent polls are conflicting in Ohio.
One places Romney nearly 10 points behind former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, but another says he would have a better chance at beating Obama in the fall.
Romney and his supporters say they don't care about the polls; they just want a Republican in the White House this upcoming election.
"(The President) is out of ideas. He's out of excuses, and 2012, he's out of office. We've got some work to do," said Romney.
From here, Romney will continue campaigning in Ohio and Michigan, leading up to their primary on Feb. 28 and Super Tuesday which includes Ohio on March 6.