BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he has not yet picked his running mate, but pledged that the vice presidential nominee would hew to conservative values.
"I can assure you that even though I have not chosen the person who will be my vice president, that person will be a conservative," he said, responding to a tea party supporter's question during a town hall here held in a community gymnasium. "They will believe in conservative principles."
Romney made the remark to several hundred people during a daylong campaign and fundraising swing in northwestern Ohio. Reflecting its importance in the November election, the state has seen a frenzy of political activity. President Barack Obama was here Monday. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal - two potential Romney running mates - stumped on his behalf in other parts of the state Wednesday.
Romney continued his theme for the week, arguing that Obama has failed to create jobs and seizing upon a comment that the president made on Friday: "If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
In his full comment, Obama lauded individual achievement but said success is aided by others, such as schoolteachers or road builders, but Romney used the statement to argue that Obama beliefs success is derived from government.
Romney asked business creators and owners in the audience to stand.
"Let me ask you this - did you build your business? If you did raise your hand," he said, as many in the crowd raised their hand. "Take that, Mr. President! This is what's happening in this country, these people are entrepreneurs."
He noted that many people in the crowd were holding signs with slogans such as "I built my own business" and "More Obama equals less job creation."
"These are fun. These are fun signs here," Romney said. "For those who made those signs, thank you for reminding us who it is in America that creates jobs."
The candidate was apparently thanking his own campaign staff, since they distributed the poster board signs before the rally.
"I didn't have time to make a sign. I grabbed it," said retired orthodontist Wayne Michaels, who added that he was deeply offended by what Obama said. "That's like a dagger through your heart."
Romney also seized upon a new report that Obama has not met with his jobs council recently, which he said shows that the president is not focused on job creation.
"In the last six months, he has held 100 fundraisers, and guess how many meetings he's had with his jobs council. None. Zero. Zero in the last six months," Romney said. "It makes it very clear where his priorities are. His priority is not creating jobs for you. His priority is trying to keep his own job, and that's why he's going to lose it."
"He's out of touch, he's out of ideas, he's out of excuses and that's why in November, we've got to get him out of office," he said to cheers.
Romney spent most of the 50-minute rally on a question-and-answer session with supporters, reiterating his proposals for increasing energy production, protecting social security for retirees but reforming it for younger Americans and not ceding sovereignty to the United Nations.
The presumptive GOP nominee faced a bit of a test when one woman described the plight of her son, a small-business owner.
"Because of the awful economy that Obama's created, he's had to lay off people and may have to close the stores. It's all because of what this monster has done," she said.
Romney, who was criticized for remaining silent earlier in the year when an audience member said the president ought to be tried for treason, quickly interjected, "That's not a term I would use."
"I kid, I'm an angry mom," the woman said.
Romney replied, "You have every right to be angry."
)2012 Los Angeles Times
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