Romney talks more jobs, improve education at rally in Cuyahoga Falls

Daniel Moore

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Obama’s economic policies, claiming they “kill the American Dream.”

The former Massachusetts governor spoke outside the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium Tuesday to a mostly white crowd of several thousand people. His own job plan, Romney said, will create 12 million new jobs nationally while reducing the federal deficit.

“This is not just a matter of economics,” he said. “In my view, we have a moral responsibility to stop spending more money than we take in and stop passing on those debts to our kids. If I’m president, I will get us on track to finally having a balanced budget.”

Romney said during his first two years in office, Obama ignored the 23 million unemployed people by “pushing Obamacare that made it harder for people to get jobs.” He also criticized the $90 billion Obama promised green energy companies as part of his stimulus package in 2009.

The jobs plan he is proposing, Romney said, would create more than 3.5 million new energy jobs by focusing on “our oil, our gas, our coal.”

“We have abundant natural resources, and taking advantage of them will put people to work in the energy sector,” Romney said. “We need them, I want them, and we’re gonna get them in this country.”

The presidential hopeful outlined five ways his plan would improve the economy, which included opening fair trade practices with Latin America and cracking down on China, which is “stealing our jobs through unfair practices.”

One of Romney’s five promises was to make America’s schools world-class “like they once were.”

“(Public education) is an embarrassment,” he said. “It’s also unfair to our kids to have our schools performing in the bottom-third of the world. It’s time to put our kids and our parents and the teachers first and the teachers’ union behind.”

The crowd cheered wildly when Romney said he “enjoyed” last week’s debate with Obama.

“I was able to ask the president some of the questions people across the country have wanted to ask him,” he said. “He gave his answers — or not-answers as the case may be — and I actually think the people have heard what he’s had to say and it’s time for him to leave the White House.”

Since the debate, Romney said, the president has been distracting from the big issues.

“For the president to get up and say, as he has over the last several days, that he’s focused on saving Big Bird, is kind of a strange thing in my view, because you see, I’m focused on helping the American people get good jobs,” Romney said.

The Cuyahoga Falls High School marching band drummed fight songs before the Victory Rally as supporters lined Oakwood Drive and wrapped around Second Street, the block surrounding the indoor swimming facility. Hay bales and American flags lined the stage and bleacher areas.

Four weeks before Election Day — and since the debate — the gap between the president and former governor has closed in key battleground states. Among likely voters in Ohio, a new CNN poll shows Obama leading Romney 51 percent to 47 percent, while others indicate a virtual tie in the key battleground state.

Tom Shanaberger, a retired chef from Bolivar, said he voted for Obama in 2008. Six weeks ago, because of the “general condition” of the country, he considered changing his vote for this year.

Obama’s poor performance in the first debate last Wednesday was “the last straw.”

“The last debate without his teleprompter, he was holding his head down and couldn’t answer the questions,” Shanaberger said “That’s what really changed the poll numbers around. That’s what’ll win the election.”

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor said although the state has improved since Gov. John Kasich took office two years ago, the administration has “the wind in our face.”

“President Obama stands in our way, instead of helping us do what’s best for Ohio,” Taylor said. “Ohio is better off, but the country as a whole is not better off.”

During her speech, someone from the crowd shouted: “Fire Obama!” and “Un-employ one more!”

“That’s a good one – I’m sorry — that was a good one,” Taylor laughed. “Because he’s fighting really hard to keep his job, it’d be nice if he fought that hard for your job.”

The former governor arrived in his campaign bus just before 8 p.m. with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ohio junior Senator Rob Portman. While introducing Romney, Christie said the president is making big decisions for Ohioans.

“He sees all of us as just actors and pawns in his great plan to manipulate everything,” Christie said. “He thinks government and bureaucrats in cubicles in unnamed buildings in Washington should decide who wins and who loses in Ohio. Mitt Romney thinks you should decide who wins and loses in America.”

Romney will be campaigning in Ohio four of the next five days.

Contact Daniel Moore at [email protected].