Katie Hibner | Staff Writer
I stood about 150 feet away from Governor Mitt Romney this Saturday.
Romney appeared in front of Lebanon’s historic Golden Lamb before approximately ten-thousand spectators. The crowd was full of voters ranging from the somewhat-interested to almost religiously-loyal Republicans, and news outlets such as NBC and FOX roved through them with cameras and sound equipment.
Preceding Romney were guests such as Senator Robert Portman and former Bengals football player Anthony Munoz. Munoz riled up the crowd with his charming sports analogies and humble appearance, but no one got the people more fired up than Romney himself.
The highlights of Romney’s speech included plans to spur the economy and create jobs. He reiterated his famous “Five-Point Plan” and also spoke of his goal to repeal Obamacare.
“Employers are dropping people from full-time jobs and putting them into part-time jobs in part because of Obamacare,” Romney said. “If I get elected, [I’m] going to repeal Obamacare and put in place real reforms to help hold down the cost of healthcare.”
Romney also addressed the importance of education and said he plans to use it to enhance Ohio’s workforce.
“I want to make sure our people have the skills they need to be able to work in the jobs today,” Romney said. “[I will] make sure Ohio people have the training they need for Ohio jobs.”
Big Bird was also in the line of fire on Saturday. In fact, one of the only Democrat protestors I saw upon entering the rally was outfitted as the big yellow fowl himself.
“[Obama’s] campaign keeps getting smaller and smaller as he talks about Big Bird,” Romney said. “[My] crowds keep getting bigger and bigger; there’s more of a crescendo and passion about changing Washington and getting a new president.”
While Romney didn’t say anything new about his platform, I believe politics were the least poignant part of the rally experience. Passion took center stage, and I appreciate the positivity Romney took when he kept emphasizing the power of the American spirit.
“I was so sad to see that the majority of Americans, for the first time in history, think the future is bleaker, not better,” Romney said. “[But] the heart of the American people is strong. Regardless of the challenge, [Americans] stand to overcome those challenges. I know it’s true. I’ve seen people in the most extreme circumstances show that kind of courage.”
Romney went on, humanizing the man even I, as a Republican, often mistook to be somewhat wooden.
“A classmate of mine from grad school was made quadriplegic in an automobile accident,” Romney said. “Instead of throwing in the towel and becoming despondent, he became active and raised money for a center for spinal cord injury research. I saw him at an Atlanta event. I put my hand on his shoulder and I said ‘God bless you. I love you.’ The next day I heard he passed away. It’s rare you get the chance to tell someone how you really feel.”
Romney’s background was also exposed in the form of home videos and interviews broadcasted on a large screen. They detailed his business knowledge, rise to political power, and, most interestingly, his sweet love story with Ann. Although his beginnings were painted as humble as possible, Romney himself, however, wasn’t humble in addressing his debate with Obama.
“About a week ago I had a debate, and I did enjoy myself,” Romney said, inspiring guffaws from the crowd.
The Republican team was smart in their handling of the rural Ohio audience. Down-home country music livened up the event between guest speakers, and Romney wisely gave special treatment to the veterans at the rally.
“I make a commitment to you that Paul Ryan and I will keep this country strong with a strong military,” Romney said. “[Let] members of our armed services please be recognized.”
Romney definitely garnered resounding support from his crowd (often in the form of shouts such as “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!” and “Say it, boy!”), and for me, it was support well-deserved. While he did deprecate Obama’s policies, he focused on the positive aspects of American resilience and the confidence he has that better times are soon to come. It was a rally for support, not hatred, and Romney’s appeal to the hearts and morals of Americans was just what his campaign needed.
Governor Mitt Romney speaks at the Golden Lamb in Lebanon on Saturday, October 14th.