Romney comes to Painesville, avoids foreign policy


Mitt Romney speaks at Lake Erie College in Painesville, OH, despite rain. Photo by Ed DeTomaso.

Ed DeTomaso, Erika Kerr

Mitt Romney started his campaign speech at Lake Erie College on Friday with a subdued moment of silence for the four Americans recently killed in Libya.

“We just moments ago witnessed and watched the bodies of the four slain diplomats arrive at Andrews Air Force Base from Libya,” he said. “I’d like to ask for a moment of silence.”

The Painesville crowd of about 2,300 Romney supporters stood in the pouring rain as they listened to Romney’s speech.

“The sky seems to be crying as well,” Romney said.

Romney read the names of all 4 of the victims as he gave tribute to the fallen and current American’s serving overseas in every capacity.

“We’re a patriotic nation,” he said. “We love the men and women who serve in this country.”

Although he started his speech with the news from the Middle East, Governor Romney did not return to foreign policy during his 17 minute speech. The agenda of the speech focused on bringing jobs back to Ohio and promoting small business in the state.

“We’ll create twelve-million new jobs if you elect me,” said Romney. “I’ve got a plan to create jobs, unlike the President.”

Romney supporters at the campaign stop seemed to be uninterested in Romney’s foreign policy stance despite its current relevance.

Michael Moats, a self-employed social service worker and Romney supporter, had not given foreign policy much thought before Friday’s speech.

“I haven’t thought much about his foreign policy positions,” he said. “I do think Romney seems to be more consistent than our past Presidents in terms of recognizing our enemies in the Middle East.”

Lake Erie College student, Jake Hosking, 20, has no interest in foreign policy and isn’t worried about Romney’s positions.

“I don’t know much about his foreign policy and foreign policy is not a big deal for me,” said Hosking. “I simply don’t like Obama and I like that Romney is a businessman.”

Romney has been very critical of President Obama’s handling of foreign affairs in recent weeks. His often-relied-upon feeling that the President apologizes for America abroad was not touched on.

Ken Balogh, a Romney campaign volunteer, thinks Romney’s leadership is key to America’s future. However, he did not have any interest in hearing the foreign policy particulars.

“He will bring back some credibility to America and not let people push us around like Obama,” he said. “We need to intervene in the region. We need to do whatever it takes. ”

Towards the end of his speech, Romney briefly touched upon the military, saying he will “make sure our military is second to none,” and that he will “not cut the American military.”

After the crowd dispersed, Kristi Bates, 34, said she thought Romney’s speech was “great, simple and to-the-point.”

“I think he told the facts,” Bates said. “Unemployment is up, and I don’t think people understand that.”

But when asked about Romney’s foreign policy stance, Kristie turned to her 35-year-old husband, Tim Bates.

“It’s a lot better than what’s in there now,” Tim Bates said. “He’s proud to be an American. He wants us to have by-far the best military.”

Contact Ed DeTomaso at [email protected] and Erika Kerr at [email protected].