Romney to Bowling Green: Obama diminishes achievement of individualWritten by Caitlin McGlade | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Basketball courts gave way to political paraphernalia Wednesday as 800 Mitt Romney supporters packed the Bowling Green Training and Community Center for the presidential candidate’s Northwest Ohio appearance.
Several hundred others parked at the Wood County Fairgrounds and attempted to squeeze onto shuttle buses at the last minute to catch the former Massachusetts governor’s speech. To attend, guests needed free tickets that were given away on a first-come, first-served basis.
Following an introduction of country music, speeches by local Republicans and a fervent “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt” chant, Romney took the stage and told his audience that he is fighting for the “soul of America.”
“I want you to know that despite all the challenges around the country and all the people that are suffering and all the people having a hard time making ends meet, I’m optimistic about the future,” Romney said. “Things are about to get a lot better in this country; we’re going to get Washington in a new direction in November.”
Gov. John Kasich joined Romney on his Bowling Green trip. At the sight of the two politicians, crowds erupted in applause and cheers only before matched by the reaction to Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards’ reference to the city’s national tractor-pulling championship while welcoming the crowds.
Kasich told his audience that Romney is the candidate that has “tools to create jobs” and stressed his own philosophy of reducing taxes, balancing the budget and building a rainy day fund. He drew cheers when he said the state no longer has a deficit and that the rainy day fund went from 89 cents — what it was when he took office — to half a billion dollars.
Among other measures, Kasich’s budget eliminated the estate tax and cut funding for local governments to close the $8 million deficit the governor inherited.
Romney also took on the tax subject, railing against the present business tax policy and regulations that he said keeps the small business owner down. Romney criticized President Barack Obama’s record for the first 10 minutes of his speech.
He rejected a recent comment Obama made about personal success.
“I just want to say exactly what he said about it, speaking of small businesses and businesses of all kinds, he said ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen,’” Romney said.
Romney called this an attempt to “denigrate and diminish the achievement of the individual.”
Obama’s full statement about that was: “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life, somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges … if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Romney then laid out five initiatives he would take to move the economy along. He said he would take advantage of energy resources, open new markets in Latin America, balance America’s budget and “restore economic freedom” by lowering small business taxes and cutting regulations. He also said he would give kids and young adults the tools they need to succeed by giving the power to parents and students instead of teachers unions.
He then took questions from some of his supporters, prefacing his Q&A session with a disclaimer that if members of media asked questions he’d “try and dodge them.” He followed up with a quick laugh.
Romney fielded questions about how he would boost the oil industry and how he might help older people receive training for new job skills.
He said he would initiate the Keystone Pipeline. As for job skills, Romney pointed to a program in his state that offers fiscal incentives to businesses to hire people who have been unemployed for more than a year. The money the business owner receives goes to training the new hires, he said.
Romney touched on a couple of the social subjects as well, announcing that he “felt like we’re all Catholic today” in the fight for religious freedoms.
He left the crowd, a mostly middle-aged to older white group, electrified and gleaming. As Sandy Barber, the leader of the Fulton County Republican Party, filed out of the community center she told her friends that Romney had a “Reaganistic” quality about him. Barber said she saw Romney speak four years ago but that he is much more enthusiastic and energizing today.
His five points, coupled with his business background, resonated with her.
“Seeing him just confirmed how I felt about him,” she said. “I have confidence in him.”
Business owners Lynnette Bartnikowski and Carol Haas also admired his business background, saying that Obama’s administration has made it tough to operate. Bartnikowski said present EPA regulations would make it impossible to start her heating, ventilation and air conditioning company now. She started it decades ago.
Haas said she wants to pay less taxes.
“Do you ever write quarterly checks?” She rolled her eyes. “Try it for a while.”
She said she sees evidence that life is not getting better for individuals because more and more customers have to pay for doughnuts at her bakery with checks and credit cards instead of cash.
But unemployment has decreased statewide and in Lucas County within the last few months. Democrats also point to the rallying auto industry as evidence that the economy is picking up. Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz and United Auto Workers President Ken Lortz hosted a news conference in Toledo Wednesday morning, hours before Romney took the stage 20 miles down the road.
Kapszukiewicz and Lortz raised concern regarding recent questions surrounding Romney’s involvement with Bain Capital while the firm was closing up offices and laying off people in Ohio.
“Romney’s values as I see them are putting profits before people,” Lortz said. “There’s nothing wrong with profits — you’ve got to have profits, that’s what makes healthy companies that’s what creates job security, but it’s the way you go about doing those things and it’s not by offshoring work.”
Lortz said during the news conference that local automakers are setting records now, as a result of government loans years ago. He said the companies have since reformed much about the interior of the businesses: employees have taken between $7,000 and $35,000 in cuts, they’ve taken benefit cuts and they’ve agreed to not strike for six years.
Republican Rep. Bob Latta was unable to make it to Romney’s visit to his hometown because of House voting that lasted into the evening. He took a quick break to comment on Romney’s race and goals. He said Romney’s campaign is, first and foremost, about jobs.
“The American people have to ask themselves this question: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Bob Latta said.
Kelly Wicks, who has owned Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green for 23 years, said his answer is “yes.”
Wicks is also running as a Democrat for an Ohio House seat. He rejects the claim that Obama has made times more strenuous for the small business owner. Contrary to arguments that the Affordable Care Act will place more burden on businesses, he said he’s looking forward to having more health insurance options. The financial burden for him has always been rooted in increasing premiums from private insurers. Plus, he added, many of his employees are under the age of 27 so he sees them enjoying the benefits of sticking to their parents’ health care for a few more years.
He has not seen any tax increases since Obama took office.
“There are many small businesses that try to blame [problems] on the Obama administration and it’s nonsense,” Wicks said. “It’s not any one over-burdensome rule that is holding our businesses back.”