Romney at Rotary: Cut the fat

Mitt Romney zipped through a PowerPoint presentation on his economic plan at a Concord Rotary Club meeting today.

Days before his long-awaited speech on religion, politics and his Mormon faith, Romney spent a low-key lunchtime touting his call to cut both taxes and spending and his plan to pore through every federal program for waste. In response to a question from the audience, he said that goes for the Pentagon budget, too. The goal there would be a smarter use of dollars, for more troops, better weapons and better veteran care, not cutting defense spending overall, he said.

"I'm looking forward to having people like yourselves in the private sector go through the defense budget, defense programs, one after the other," he said as a crowd of Rotary members munched on tunafish sandwiches and french fries at the Cat 'n Fiddle Restaurant and national reporters tapped on their BlackBerrys.

Romney traveled with fellow former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, whom he dubbed "Big Red" and introduced as "the hunter of the Northwest -- Northeast! Bill Weld." In turn, Weld billed Romney as a Washington outsider and a voracious consumer of data. "This guy's a vacuum cleaner for facts!" he said.

- Lauren R. Dorgan