Jae C. Hong, Associated Press
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets an attendee outside the site of the Democratic National Convention in Denver on Tuesday.

DENVER — For a man whose life could change forever next week if chosen as the Republican vice presidential nominee, Mitt Romney was relaxed, upbeat and in full GOP attack mode Tuesday as he invaded a town full of Democrats.

He traveled to Denver, he said, to get "beyond the glitz and the glitter" of the Democratic National Convention there and "focus on the facts."

And the main fact, he said, is that Barack Obama may be "a fine person. But he is not ready to be president." He said John McCain is ready, and the nation and world will be vastly different depending on who is elected.

At a crowded press conference at McCain's Colorado headquarters, reporters asked Romney and Rep. Eric Canton, R-Va., both considered leading contenders to become McCain's running mate, if they had any news about that vice presidential pick. They both laughed — and then quickly ended the half-hour press conference.

Romney shot with both barrels at Obama at the press conference, saying such things as, "He voted 94 times to raise taxes," "He's wrong on spending," "He's wrong on trade" and "You don't grow the economy by raising taxes and limiting trade."

At an earlier private gathering with some reporters, he also praised McCain as strongly as he attacked Obama.

Among other things, Romney, looking thin and tan, said Obama made a serious tactical error when he made fun of McCain not immediately listing the number of homes he and his wife own.

"It was wrong, offensive. John McCain is a true-blooded hero. All Americans see this as the politics of envy, and it will not be successful in the final analysis," Romney said.

All Obama did in that political flare-up was point to his own housing record — "Obama got a special deal from a convicted felon" — who helped the Obamas buy a lot next to their new house.

"Every effort to portray John McCain as someone who doesn't connect with the American people will fall extraordinarily short, just as the efforts to say he is a continuation of George Bush," he said.

"The American people recognize that is total baloney. They know that John McCain was a maverick in the Senate" who voted against Bush's wishes "on major" issues of the day.

Asked how many homes Romney owns (he is worth hundreds of millions of dollars) Romney said: "Four, one less than John Kerry," the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. One of Romney's homes, by the way, is in Deer Valley, Utah.

As has been the case in recent weeks, Romney declined to talk about McCain's vice presidential pick, even refusing to say if the McCain camp had vetted Romney for any problems should he be asked to join the ticket.

"I'm not running for anything now," he told about three dozen reporters over an hourlong meeting in the Brown Palace Hotel.

Asked about his private sector work experience, where Democrats are accusing Romney of being a "job killing machine," Romney defended his time at Bain Investments and Bain Capital as working with good colleagues who tried to save more than 100 firms. "We succeeded, we failed." But always, in the Winter Olympics and in one term of Massachusetts governor (he left in January 2007 to run for president), Romney said he sought good solutions for good employees to build a better organization.

Other Romney high points:

• U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Obama's pick for vice president, "has spent 30 years in foreign policy, but has been wrong for 30 years."

Biden thought Ronald Reagan's arms buildup build-up against the Soviet Union would lead to that nation becoming emboldened and strong. But he was wrong. Also, Romney said Biden was wrong on the troop surge in Iraq, as well as dividing Iraq into three countries.

Perhaps referring to the GOP ads showing an early debate where Biden said Obama was not ready for the presidency and the presidency was no place for on-the-job training, Romney said no one will ever find in the earlier Republican debates that McCain is not ready to be president.

In other words, Obama has not strengthened his foreign policy credentials by picking Biden.

• Obama is wrong on Western issues, especially energy development, where he won't consider nuclear energy and off-shore oil drilling.

• Obama is such a flip-flopper on issues "that we don't know where he stands."

• While some still say that McCain doesn't personally like Romney, Romney said he spent 2 1/2 days at McCain's New Mexico home, and talked with him and his son into the night.

"We get along well, I suggest we are friends. I think he'd say the same thing." Still, the two men have never talked personally talked about the vice presidency.

• While he's not seeking the vice presidency, he doesn't believe being a Mormon harms his chances of helping McCain get elected. "One's religion, race, ethnicity, doesn't play a role" in this presidential election, Romney said.

• Sen. Hillary Clinton "will say tonight" in her convention speech "exactly what the Obama camp expect and hope she will say." But Romney says there are still a lot of Clinton supporters who are not be satisfied that Obama didn't seriously consider her for vice president and may well take a good look at McCain.

Romney said he will give an address in next week's Republican National Convention in St. Paul on the economy and how Obama's ideas won't work and John McCain's will. (That is, unless he is tapped to be vice president, and would then give a very different talk.)


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