MARIETTA - After hearing Tagg Romney speak in Marietta Friday during his "Commit to Mitt Early Vote Express Bus Tour," Belpre resident Marcia Shemelia had a mission.
"I did get a picture of him. It's going up on my Facebook as soon as I get home!" said Shemelia, 63.
She said she was also energized by the other Republicans who spoke at the stop, Congressman Bill Johnson and Josh Mandel, U.S. Senate candidate and current Ohio treasurer.
Photo by Sharon Bopp
Congressman Bill Johnson and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel listen to Tagg Romney speak during Friday’s “Commit to Mitt Early Vote Express Bus Tour” in Marietta.
"I think that they all did a good job," Shemelia said. "It kinda boosted the spirits a little bit more."
Johnson was the first to step up and speak to the crowd of about 200 people gathered in the Parking Partners lot on Second Street. The event, originally scheduled to be held near the Washington County Courthouse, was moved once Romney's bus arrived.
"This is the largest crowd we have had, so give yourselves a hand," Johnson said.
The purpose of the event was to promote early voting and Johnson did not disappoint, noting an advantage to early voting.
"Once you vote, they take your name off the calling lists," he said, in a comment that brought a cheer from the crowd.
Mandel was the next to stir the crowd.
"Are you guys ready to change Washington?" he asked.
"There's a very good chance that this part of the state will determine who (wins for president)," Mandel noted.
For Mandel, the elections are about jobs and national security, he said.
"We don't want to be dependent on countries in the Middle East for our energy," he said. "We can depend on counties like Washington County, Ohio."
"Gov. Romney, he understands that coal equals jobs, that oil and gas equal jobs," he added.
An Obama campaign spokeswoman in Ohio said Friday she understood Romney's position on coal differently.
"Gov. Romney wants people to think that he's pro-coal, but when he was governor of Massachusetts, he stood in front of a coal plant and said 'This plant kills' and took great pride in shutting it down," said regional press secretary Laura Allen.
Tagg Romney began his speech with light banter about his first name as he took center stage.
"Is Tagg Romney your real name?" he admitted he's often asked.
"Unfortunately it is," he answered, explaining that his full name Taggert is the name of a college friend of Mitt and Ann Romney's.
Romney asked what President Barack Obama has done in his term in office, saying the U.S. is $5 trillion in debt and 23 million Americans are out of work or under employed.
"The American dream is at risk," he said.
Allen said that's not the case.
"The president has a plan to move this country forward by creating an economy that has a strong middle class at its core, by supporting small businesses and creating good-paying jobs here in Ohio," she said.
Tagg Romney said there are two reasons his father should be elected the next president.
"He's really smart and qualified. He knows what he's doing," he said, noting that as governor he "left the state (of Massachusetts) with a $2 billion rainy-day fund."
"He's a really good man," was the second reason Tagg Romney gave for why his father should be in the Oval Office.
"The reason my dad is running is he cares deeply about people," he said. "He wants to keep the American dream alive."
Touching on the importance of early voting, Romney urged the crowd to do so.
"If you haven't voted already, get out and vote," he said. "Knock on your neighbors' doors and make sure they've voted."
Many in the crowd had voted ahead of the Nov. 6 election date.
"I voted a few minutes ago," said Robert Schmitt, 70, of Marietta. "I decided I wasn't gonna wait until the last minute. As (the politicians) said, something might come up... and I want to make sure my vote counts."