GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Campaigns In Zanesville

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From left: Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, (R-OH); GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)
From left: Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, (R-OH); GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made three Ohio campaign stops Tuesday. In a mid-afternoon address in Zanesville, the presumptive GOP nominee fired up a friendly crowd in a speech that lasted just 13 minutes.

Mitt Romney’s bus rolled to a stop beside Tom’s Ice Cream shop in Zanesville where the storefront was decked out in red, white and blue. Governor John Kasich spoke briefly. Then Ohio’s Republican senator, Rob Portman, introduced the likely Republican presidential nominee.

“You agree with me that we cannot afford another four years of Barack Obama,” asked Portman. “Mitt, we’re in the right place.”

The crowd of more than a thousand supporters cheered throughout the candidate’s short speech. At one point, Mr. Romney sounded a little like Ronald Reagan.

“I love this country; this is an extraordinary land founded on a principal that changed the world it was that God gave us our rights, not government,” Romney said.

Romney proceeded to pump up the crowd with a litany of conservative ideals.

“And so if you have a business you built it. If you got a promotion you earned it. If you made the honor roll you achieved it. In this country we are driven by free people pursuing their dreams; we celebrate success. We do not attack success. I will never apologize for success here or America abroad,” Romney said.

But the thrust of Romney’s address was the struggling economy. And though he praised Governor Kasich as a job creator, he said there was still more to do.

“As I go across Ohio I find people living from paycheck to paycheck,” Romney said. “They were promised that their incomes would go up but instead their incomes have come down. They see their utility bills go up; they see their gasoline prices go up. They’ve seen their health insurance premiums go up. So with incomes down and costs up this is pretty darn tough in America right now for the middle class. And I can tell you this. Help is on the way. We’re going to get America strong again; build an economy with good jobs and rising incomes.”

The former Massachusetts governor whittled down his plan for prosperity into 5 key points. First, he said, America should take advantage of its energy resources including coal, wind and nuclear. Second, he promised that children and adults would have the skills they need to succeed and he promised to make schools in the U.S. the best in the world. Third, Romney called for more trade that works, he said, to America’s advantage. Fourth, he would balance the budget. And fifth, he would work to remove burdensome regulations and taxes that he said hampered small businesses.

The line that brought the greatest applause was this:

“I want to replace and repeal Obama Care,” Romney said.

Even before Romney’s arrival in Zanesville, a group of about 50 sign-waving protestors demonstrated about a half-block away. At one point the group chanted “Hands off Medicare!”

In his remarks, Romney hinted that it was the president who was jeopardizing the Medicare program.

“He has taken $716 billion out of the Medicare trust fund to pay for Obama Care. I’ll put it back,” Romney said.

In the final moments of Romney’s remarks, he told the crowd that he’d set the economy free.

“I will restore freedom because America’s economy runs on freedom,” Romney said. We’re going to take back this country and keep it the hope of the Earth. Thank you so much…”

And with that, Mitt Romney got back on his campaign bus and headed to Chillicothe.

Zanesville resident Bernie Kuhn said he was disappointed that the speech was not longer. Cathy Moran of Conesville said this:

“We loved his speech. Very encouraging,” Moran said.