SIDNEY — After a host of local, state and federal officials spoke, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s tour bus pulled up to the stage at the Shelby County Fairgrounds in Sidney Wednesday at promptly 7 p.m., sending most in attendance into a frenzy and back into a chant of “Four more weeks.” This was a chant started earlier by state Rep. John Adams, R-Sidney, during his address to the crowd, referring to the 27 days left until the election.
Romney immediately started by attacking Obama’s economic policies, but remained short of personal attacks against the president. He said both candidates had plans for the economy, and it was just a matter of who had the best plans. He then told what he would do as president to help the economy revive.
“He calls it forward,” Romney said of Obama. “I call it forewarned.”
Romney spoke on his five-point plan for creating jobs to rejuvenate the economy, energy independence and less dependency on foreign oil, opening up trade with foreign countries, increasing the efficiency of government job-training programs, cutting federal spending and championing small business and making it easier for small business to grow.
“My plan is to take advantage of all energies available,” Romney said of the first tenet of his plan.
Romney said the federal government had 47 job-training programs overseen by eight federal agencies that were bogged down with administrative costs. He wants to make the job-training system more efficient and prepare people better for the work force.
He claimed Obama was spending too much, spending at twice the rate of what was brought in, so he would favor a cap on federal spending of 20 percent of the gross domestic product and would create a balanced budget.
He also said he would take away over-regulation in the business sector, which he felt would help small businesses flourish.
“I want regulators to get out of the way,” Romney said.
Obama-Biden campaign officials issued a statement with a rebuttal to Romney’s speech.
“In Sidney tonight, Mitt Romney told a series of falsehoods about the president’s plan for rural America,” Obama for America-Ohio Press Secretary Jessica Kershaw said. “Unsurprisingly, he failed to detail specific plans of his own. He said he’d cut taxes, but to pay for his $250,000 tax cuts for multi-millionaires, he’d have to raise taxes on middle class families with kids by $2,000. And he complained about our exports but President Obama has a plan to double them and in Ohio our exports reached a record level in the first half of this year.
“The truth is that independent economists agree that Romney’s plans would do nothing to create jobs and could slow our recovery,” she said.
Speaking about people Romney met on the campaign trail, Romney said he was inspired by the people he had met and spoke of two in particular.
He spoke of a soldier, Christopher Horton, who was killed in Afghanistan. Romney said he was able to speak with Horton’s wife, Jane Horton, after he husband had been killed.
“She had been packing a package of goodies to send to him when she learned of her husband being killed,” Romney said.
Romney said he asked the wife about protests of the war and how it made her feel, and she said her husband had died so people could protest.
Romney also referred to a Boy Scout Court of Honor he attended some years ago in Monument, Colo. The troop had a flag on display that they had sent with the space shuttle Challenger mission that exploded. The flag was recovered fully intact in the wreckage several months later.
“The experience I had reminded me about our spirit,” Romney said. “I looked over that flag, and when I picked it up it was like electricity flowing through my arms.”
Changing course, Romney said America can compete with anyone in the world, and he planned to increase U.S. exports and to open up more trade, particularly in Latin America. He said he knew America would come back, but that getting people to vote was critical in this election. He also reaffirmed plans to keep the U.S. military the strongest in the world, by continuing to fund it at high levels, noting Obama plans to cut military.
“I will not cut our military,” Ronmey said. “It needs to be second to none.”
He also said the Obama health care plan needed to be cast aside and real health care reform put in its place.
Other speakers included Denny Sollman of Sollman Electric, Adams, state Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, Sidney farmer Ellen Joslin, state Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, Gov. John Kasich and Romney’s son, Josh Romney.
Spokesmen from the Romney campaign confirmed an attendance of approximately 9,000 people during the campaign stop.
In closing, Kasich issued a prediction aimed eat the national press.
“We pass our life and dream on to them (our children) so they can have a better life,” Kasich said. “That’s what this is all about. To the national press, we are going to win.”
While the crowd was largely Romney supporters, several undecided voters and leaning voters said the appearance helped reaffirm their decision.
“I heard what I wanted to hear,” said John Stumpff, of Piqua. “He said what Obama doesn’t say.
Stumpff said the deciding factor for him is job creation, lower taxes and security. He felt Romney could deliver on those promises.
Julie Girardi said she felt Romney was connected with the working family.
“I think he understands the working family and understands what needs to be done,” Gilardi said.
Bob King, of Maplewood, said he was already leaning Romney and the rally had put him over the edge.
“He is a strong, religious man,” King said. “This reinforced my vote. I think he will try to balance the budget.”
Donna Larson, of New Knoxville, said she was already a Romney supporter.
“When we heard he was coming to Sidney we wanted to support him,” Larson said. “We are going nowhere. I think he deserves a chance.”
Bill Shank, who was undecided, said the focus was for him was on gas prices and job creation. He said he planned to take what he heard and make an honest evaluation of it.
“Right now I am leaning Romney,” Shank said, “but I want to know what he is going to do for us.
“I predict it is going to be damn close,” he said, referring to the election.