Yesterday evening, Dino Rossi gave his first public speech since declaring his senate candidacy. The venue: the Weatherly Inn ("Assisted Living and Dementia Care"), located just south of Tacoma.

Technically, Rossi was the warm-up for a debate between Republican candidates for state legislature in the 28th District. But of course he used the occasion to begin to frame the contest between himself and Senator Patty Murray.

I'm running against a candidate who's number three in earmarks, been there 18 years, number four in leadership. You know what: This is gonna be a stark change and a stark difference. But this country is at stake, the leadership of the free world is stake, folks. There's a lot at stake.

Before the speech, which you can watch in full above, there was an opening prayer for Republican candidates, followed by a Pledge of Allegiance led by a woman with a heavy eastern European accent. Mike Siegel, the evening's MC, noted that the woman had "entered this country legally, with pride, many years ago, became a citizen—unlike 12 million, who came across the border without that kind of legality."

Then Rossi took the mic. He said he was gearing up for a "five month sprint" and, taking another stab at framing the race, said this:

What's it gonna be about? It's actually gonna be about the purpose and role of government. Is it going to be a limited government or an overreaching government? That's what it's gonna be about.

Sounding like a man who knows there's a Tea Party challenger in the race with him, Rossi lamented the government getting into the ownership of banks and insurance companies and car companies, its involvement in student loans, and its role in the new health care overhaul.

"They're gathering up all this power," Rossi warned.

And, he added, they're running up deficits.

When our own bankers, the Chinese—last time I checked they were communists—are telling us we're spending too much money, we're spending too much money. Clearly we're headed for a brick wall.

He then touted his work balancing budgets (without raising taxes) in Olympia.

"That's why I decided to run for the United States Senate," Rossi said. "I'm telling ya, in Washington, D.C., and Olympia, they need some adult supervision."

(Originally posted yesterday.)