LEBANON, Ohio — Still soaring on his debate performance of the previous week, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney rallied two large crowds of supporters, first in Portsmouth, and then in Lebanon outside the Golden Lamb Inn and Restaurant owned by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and his family on Saturday.
Mr. Romney emphasized reviving the economy, which he said he would do by opening up domestic energy reserves, helping small businesses, and repealing the national health care law implemented by President Obama.
Speaking in Ohio’s coal country, Mr. Romney said, “We’ve got 250 years of coal. It can be burned cleanly. We have a lot of coal, we’re going to use it, we’re going to keep America energy-secure.”
He also criticized President Obama’s refusal to take what Mr. Romney said was the President’s seventh opportunity to designate China guilty of currency manipulation.
“He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation. He said [he wasn’t] going to make any determination until after the election,” Mr. Romney said. “On Day One of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator. It’s time for us to stand up to China for their cheating. It’s gotta stop.”
Mr. Romney has made Chinese trade “cheating” a centerpiece of his campaign.
Obama Administration officials said Friday it would delay the release of a currency report due Oct. 15 that could have labeled China a country that purposely devalues its money to give its manufacturers a price advantage.
Mr. Romney’s running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), made the same charge at his Ohio campaign appearance in Youngstown, to which Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner responded.
“Congressman Ryan’s tough rhetoric can’t hide the fact that Mitt Romney will never crack down on China’s cheating — just look at his record. When President Obama stood up to China on behalf of American tire workers, Romney called it ’decidedly bad for the nation,’” Mr. Kanner” said.
Mr. Kanner also said Mr. Romney, as a private businessman, “led investments in companies that shipped American jobs to China, and in a Chinese company known for the cheating he condemns today.” He said Mr. Romney’s plan would create jobs overseas and slow the recovery here.
In the afternoon Mr. Romney addressed a crowd under sunny skies on the campus of Shawnee State University on the Ohio River.
Three hours later, the center of Lebanon was cordoned off for the rally of about 11,000 people outside the Golden Lamb Inn and Restaurant, which is partially owned by Mr. Portman. The senator, who has been accompanying Mr. Romney on most of his Ohio campaign appearances, coached Mr. Romney for the debate.
Mr. Portman said his grandparents were the innkeepers for about 50 years after his grandfather bought the former stage coach inn in the 1920s.
Mr. Romney poked fun at Mr. Portman, and jokingly said dinner would be on the senator. The restaurant is setting for the large number of presidents and presidential candidates who have stayed or campaigned there. Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin made a stop during her 2008 campaign with the 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, as did former President George W. Bush in 2004.
Mr. Romney commented on his week of visits in Ohio, saying, “Our crowds keep getting bigger, there’s more of a crescendo and passion about changing Washington and getting a new president.”
He said Mr. Obama’s “campaign keeps getting smaller and smaller as he talks about Big Bird and so forth.” Mr. Obama has repeatedly mocked Mr. Romney for saying he would cut federal funding of Sesame Street if he’s elected.
He promised he would reverse cuts planned for the military and would restore the $716 billion that is to be cut from the Medicare program over 10 years under the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Romney also vowed he would not raise taxes on the middle class or on small businesses, and said he would put the nation on the path to a balanced budget.
The Obama campaign pushed back by releasing statistics for Scioto County, where Portsmouth is located, and Warren County, where Lebanon is, showing amounts of money from the 2009 stimulus that went to the two counties, the numbers of young people able to stay on their parents’ health insurance under President Obama’s health-care law, and the number of seniors protected from having to pay more for health care, also because of the health-care law.
Shawnee State University received a total of $44.5 million in Pell grants, something Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan plan to cut if they’re elected, according to the Obama campaign.
The campaign visits to Ohio will continue next week. Mr. Ryan is to campaign Monday in Cincinnati, while First Lady Michelle Obama will speak in Delaware and Cleveland. President Obama will campaign Wednesday in Athens. Former President Bill Clinton and rock star Bruce Springsteen will appear together on Thursday in Parma.
Contact Tom Troy at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 419-724-6058.