ONTARIO, Ohio — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney returned to Ohio today, promising an economic resurgence and no military reductions in a community concerned about the future of its Air National Guard base.
Mr. Romney spoke to a receptive crowd that the Romney campaign put at 1,258, in a factory owned by PR Machine Works Inc. just outside Mansfield.
During his 18-minute speech Mr. Romney promised to prevent military cuts, including the $1 trillion over the next decade he says would be cut under the automatic budget cut deadline crafted by President Obama and Congress.
“Liberty here and around the world is protected in large measure by the strength of the American military. I will make sure our military remains second to none,” Mr. Romney said. “I will not cut our military.
“As part of this sequestration law, it requires the President to specify what cuts he’s going to make to the military. He hasn’t put out those cuts, he won’t describe all the jobs that will be lost, not until probably after the election,” he said, adding that’s “one secret relating to national security he’s willing to keep.”
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) joined Mr. Romney and said 800 jobs at the Air National Guard base are threatened.
“The 179th is doing a terrific job for us, we need to be sure we’re standing with them. Unfortunately President Obama made the decision to end the mission of the 179th,” he said.
When he visited Mansfield in August, President Obama was lambasted for flying into the airport that is threatened by the Pentagon’s proposed cut of the C27-J aircraft, four of which are supported at the Mansfield Lahm National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing base.
The White House later stressed that, although it is rethinking the C27-J aircraft, that doesn’t mean the National Guard base is in danger.
The Obama campaign noted that PR Machine Works has recently added jobs and identifies itself as a “tier II supplier” for Honda of America, considered by many to have been an indirect beneficiary of the taxpayer funded “rescues” of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009.
“It’s ironic that Mitt Romney has chosen to push his doom and gloom economic message at a company that is adding jobs and expanding its facilities under President Obama, especially one whose clients include automakers which are thriving in spite of Romney’s desire to ‘let Detroit go bankrupt,’” said Jessica Kershaw, spokesman for the Obama campaign in Ohio.
Ontario, Ohio, is about 120 miles southeast of Toledo. It was Mr. Romney’s 15th campaign trip to Ohio in 2012.
“It’s an incredibly important part of the state. Richland County is one of those counties that is going to determine the direction of Ohio in this election and therefore the direction of the country. It’s an important swing county,” Mr. Portman said. In 2008, Richland County went 57 percent for Republican John McCain, and accounted for just more than 1 percent of the total vote in the presidential election.
Basing some of his remarks on the Pledge of Allegiance, Mr. Romney vowed “I will not take God out of the public square.”
He said, “We need a President who will go to work to reinvigorate our economy and put the American people back to work.”
He said he was surprised that during his speech at the Democratic convention, the President didn’t mention that 47 million people are getting food stamps, compared with 32 million when he took office.
He also recounted the major goals for his administration, including eliminating regulations that hinder access to coal and natural gas.
“I’m going to make sure we get that pipeline from Canada,” he said, referring to the Keystone XL pipeline that would pump oil from western Canada to Texas and which President Obama has refused to permit.
Mr. Romney made fun of Mr. Obama’s campaign slogan, “Forward.”
“I think forewarned is a better term,” he said.
And Mr. Romney garnered one of the biggest cheers of the event when he said he would “put our kids first and put the teachers union behind.”
Afterward he spoke to an overflow crowd of about 300 people outside the building.
“I’m not looking to heal the planet. That’s an important job, I know. But I’m here to make sure people have good jobs,” Mr. Romney said in the impromptu remarks.
He walked along the railing separating him from the crowd, saying, “good to see you,” “thanks a lot,” and “thank you guys.”
Company President Mark Romanchuk, who introduced Mr. Romney and is a Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives representing Richland County, said his family started the business 50 years ago.
A poll by Public Policy Polling released Sunday found Mr. Obama leading Mr. Romney 50-45 in Ohio, the widest lead of Mr. Obama since early May in PPP’s polling. PPP said it surveyed 1,072 likely voters by automated telephone call. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The poll showed Mr. Romney leading among independents, 46-44, but Mr. Obama in the lead overall because of a more unified party base.
After the speech Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden told reporters that the economy is the No. 1 issue, and “the challenge for us over the next 57 days is to make the case with Ohio voters that Governor Romney can put the country back on track, and and get the economy pretty much to its full potential.”
Contact Tom Troy at: email@example.com or 419-724-6058.