By Marissa Alfano
Presidential candidate, Governor Mitt Romney, spoke about how the people of America, and specifically Ohio, could not afford another costly four years with Barack Obama as president during a rally at Buns Restaurant on Wednesday, Oct. 10
West Winter Street was closed for the event, as Ohio Wesleyan students and Delaware residents crowded the sidewalks, holding “Ohio is Romney Country” signs and cheering as the motorcade arrived.
Romney entered the Buns patio with Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, standing in a position where both were visible to the outdoor audience, indoor diners and the street crowds.
Christie began the rally by speaking about the future of America and then presenting Romney.
“We just have four more weeks to put up with Barack Obama in the White House,” Christie said. “We have been traveling all across Ohio together for the last day and a half or so, seeing so many wonderful folks who have such great dreams for their children and grandchildren.
“They want this country to be, for those kids, what it has been for us and we are willing to fight for it and sacrifice together to get it. All we need to do is get a leader to lead us there and we have that person and I’m thrilled to call him my friend and you’re going to be proud to call him the next President of the United States Governor Mitt Romney.”
Romney took the microphone and began to interact with those in attendance by asking questions and inciting lively audience responses.
“The question I have for the people of Ohio is this: can you afford four more years of Barack Obama?” Romney said.
The audience responded with a loud, enthusiastic and unanimous, “no!”
Romney continued by explaining the importance of considering this cost when voting.
“I hope people understand just what he would cost,” Romney said. “He would be very expensive for the people of Ohio if he were get reelected. I hope people calculate this; I want them on Nov. 6 to — well if you’re early voting you can start thinking about it right now — which is how much would it cost to have Barack Obama president for four more years?”
Romney spoke about how Ohio and America in general could not afford four more costly years under President Obama.
“There’s the Obama economy tax,” Romney said. “That’s meant that the income of the average American has gone down by $4,300 a family. We can’t afford that.”
Romney also spoke about his position on Medicare and Obama’s universal health care.
“And then of course there’s his plan for Medicare cutting, $716 billion dollars out of Medicare. We can’t afford that. I will put that money back in Medicare and honor our promises to our seniors,” he said. “We can’t afford Obamacare. Obamacare would cost the average family $2,500 a year more in insurance premiums. I will repeal Obamacare and finally get real health care reform in our country.”
Romney went on to talk about the problems with the current budget and the difficulties it is causing the American economy.
“We can’t afford another series of budget deficits of roughly a trillion dollars a year,” he said. “I mean recognize this isn’t just bad for the economy; it’s bad for jobs because as debt gets larger and larger the economy slows down, we don’t put as many people to work. It’s also bad for the coming generations. I think it’s immoral for us to keep spending massively more than we take in, passing on those burdens to our kids.”
Romney also emphasized how Obama’s plan to cut military spending would be detrimental to the American economy.
“Four more years of Barack Obama would also cost you a very different military,” Romney said. “Four more years of Barack Obama would mean that our military would see roughly, well at least $500 billion in cuts and if sequestration is sustained, another $500 billion on top of that.
“Jobs would be lost here in Ohio; tens of thousands of jobs would be lost here in Ohio. Across the country, the job loss would be extraordinary and of course our military would be devastated. In the words of the Secretary of Defense, ‘we can’t afford that additional cost of Barack Obama. It’s one more reason why we are going to vote for a change in Washington to keep America strong and to keep those jobs.’”
Romney said he, unlike Obama, would utilize America’s natural resources to lower gas prices.
“And let me mention one more thing, I don’t think you can afford another doubling of gasoline prices under Barack Obama…The president has not taken advance of our energy,” he said.
“When I become president we are going to double the number of permits on federal lands and on federal waters for drilling, make sure that we can get more oil and gas and use our coal and our nuclear renewables. We are going to have an energy abundance in America and keep our prices more moderate.”
In conclusion, Romney left those at the rally with a series of questions to consider before going to the polls.
“Do you really think we can afford Barack Obama?” Romney asked. “How much more do you think he’s going to cost us? How much more in wages going down? How much more in health insurance costs? How much more in gasoline prices? How much more in weakening our military how much more in cuts to Medicare? All these things Barack Obama is costing the people of Ohio.
“Let’s just give him four more weeks; it’s time for new leadership over the coming four years.”
After his speech, Romney shook hands with people in attendance, signed posters and enjoyed a meal at the local business, which reaffirms his commitment to small businesses.
Senior Kayla Henderson said attending the Romney rally was a rewarding experience and sparked her enthusiasm for this year’s presidential election.
“Being able to hear him speak from 25 feet away and getting to shake his hand was awesome,” Henderson said. “I was an undecided voter for a few months; however, after some research and keeping up with the campaigns, I decided that Romney’s policies would be the best for the country. I do disagree with the Republican Party on some social issues, but to me, they are secondary for the time being, and the president would not have the absolute final say on a controversial issue.”
Henderson said she has been involved in campaigning the past few months and plans to continue in the final days before the election.
“This election cycle I have volunteered with the College Republicans and plan on continuing throughout the election,” Henderson said. “I’ve also made phone calls urging people to vote in this election. Being in Ohio during this close election will be extremely important since no Republican has won office without carrying Ohio. I am excited to be able to vote for the first time.”
Sophomore Natalie Mangene said she was happy to live in a swing state, which allowed her the opportunity to meet Romney, and on a different occasion, his Vice Presidential Candidate, Paul Ryan.
“Getting to meet Romney was an incredible experience,” Mangene said. “It’s really great going to school in a swing state because the candidates come much more frequently, so there are a lot of opportunities to meet with them. I also got to meet Paul Ryan earlier this semester. As part of my internship I got to be a part of his motorcade when he came to Columbus, which was a great experience.”
Mangene said she is trying to be involved in the election because politics is just as important for younger generations as it is for her parents.
“I am voting the way I am because I feel that Mitt Romney has what it takes to turn our economy around,” Mangene said.
“I think it’s important to get involved, especially as young people, because I think most adults see us as apathetic towards politics, so it’s really important that we prove otherwise.”
Junior Stephen Ford said he was excited to meet Romney because he supports national defense, which is an important issue for Ford.
“I introduced myself to Governor Romney as LCPL (Lance Corporal) Ford in the USMC (Marine Corps) and Governor Romney was kind enough to thank me for my service and even stopped to take a picture with me,” Ford said. “I appreciated that he took the time to say that to me and the main reason — among many — that I will be voting for him, is his promise to rescind President Barack Obama’s 10 percent cuts on the USMC (Marine Corps).”
Some Ohio Wesleyan students did not attend the rally with the College Republicans, but instead stood across the street with many other Delaware residents and students who watched from outside.
Junior Hannah Walls said she was happy to have even had the opportunity to attend the rally, even if her view was from the street.
“My view from the street was decent, but I only saw Romney for a second before he went inside,” Walls said. “I was glad just to be able to be there and support him. I wanted to see Romney because it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity and I was hoping for a chance to shake his hand and wish him good luck.”
Walls said she thinks this election will prove important for the American people and that everyone should participate.
“I feel that this election is an extremely important one and everyone should get involved by voting,” Walls said. “Our country is at a very delicate state and every vote counts.”
Junior Tim Alford, president of College Republicans, said he enjoyed the rally and was pleased with his experience.
“It was a great and incredibly unusual experience and opportunity to shake hands with someone who could be elected president, especially this close to the election,” Alford said. “It was exciting to see the community and student body turnout to this event.”
Alford said his information about the rally was limited before the event.
“We didn’t find out that Romney was going to be in the area until Monday afternoon from our College Republican National Committee Field Representative Allie Keane, but even at that point, we didn’t know where he would be or what time he would arrive,” Alford said. “By Monday night, we found out that we would be at Bun’s sometime Wednesday afternoon.”
He said Romney’s campaign was willing to give out VIP tickets to the rally to students who helped canvas for the Romney/Ryan ticket.
“To get into the event, Romney’s campaign asked that we as a club knock on 500 doors by the end of the week,” Alford said.
“To do this, we took groups of students out volunteering in more shifts and on more days than normal, but we ended up surpassing the 500 doors mark. Those who volunteered to help us reach this mark got to come to the event with us.”
On the day of the event, Alford said the College Republicans went to Bun’s between 11:15-11:30 a.m.
He said they were all given VIP wristbands and were taken to the patio of Bun’s. He said there were about 20 College Republicans there. Some helped the campaign pass out posters and get set up for the event.
Alford said he has been heavily involved in the election process this year.
“Over the summer, I worked as a campaign intern for Stivers for Congress,” Alford said.
“Congressman Steve Stivers is running in the district that includes my home town, Lancaster, O.H. I did various research projects and district profiling for Congressman Stivers, as well as compiled data for walk lists. It was an amazing experience to work with Congressman Stivers. His Campaign Manager and Political Director, Grant Shaffer and Colton Henson, were great people to work with and learn from. I appreciate the positive campaign that Stivers has had.”
Senior Kenneth “KC” Callahan also has been politically active this election year. He worked for Josh Mandel (US Senate) and Dave Joyce’s (running for US Congress in Ohio’s 14th district) campaigns this past summer.
Callahan said he first met Romney last spring at Otterbein College after a speech and shook his hand again at Buns Restaurant due to connections he has with OWU alum Tim Carney ’12, who is now working for Romney’s advanced campaign staff at the headquarters in Boston.
Callahan said he has strong views about the current issues and the direction he would like to see America move.
“I believe in: a small federal government, tax codes that will lighten the burden on small businesses, a strong well-funded military to enable President Reagan’s ‘peace through strength’ strategy as well electing public officials that will end the gridlock in Washington,” Callahan said.
“I believe all of these things are all essential to the future of the United States. I believe very strongly in these principles and I got involved with campaigns because I think it is very important to help get people in Washington who can bring about a positive change to the United States of America.”
Callahan also expressed his disappointment with Obama’s economic policies.
“While President Obama’s stimulus package had a great intentions it has not worked as evidenced by the 1 million manufacturing jobs lost since 2009, 43 straight months of unemployment over 8 percent and failing on his promise to cut the country’s debt in half.”
For OWU students, attending Romney’s rally was yet another opportunity to be a politically responsible citizen and to live up to the university’s high standards of civic involvement.
In the weeks to come, students will be phone banking, door knocking and attending additional rallies that will help determine the outcome of the 2012 election.