RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
Craig Romney — the youngest son of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney — stopped by the Scioto County Republican Party’s headquarters Saturday morning to deliver promotional material and thank local supporters.
Originally planning to speak on the steps of the headquarters, located on Sixth Street in Portsmouth, the party moved the morning event inside to escape the rain. Their second-floor office was crammed with cheering supporters, waving “Romney/Ryan” signs.
Romney said he was surprised and excited by the number of people who came out so early on a Saturday morning, in the rain, to see him. The local event was one of the Republican Party’s Buckeye Blitz celebration, happening at Victory Center Headquarters all across the state of Ohio on Saturday.
“We’re really excited about the fact that he’s come down this way and is going to share his father’s vision of hope for America, and of course progress for America. We’re excited about the fact that the campaign would think enough about Portsmouth to come down, and we’re looking for his father and Paul Ryan possibly to come later on. But it’s great that he’s coming. We’re out of materials. We’ve totally given everything away, and he’s bringing more,” said Scioto County Republican Party Co-Communications Director Bryan Davis.
Davis said Romney’s message is a clear contrast to the one Vice President Joe Biden will deliver in Portsmouth today.
“We’re in an area, unemployment is 11 percent. We’re four points behind the rest of the state. Unemployment is above 8 (percent) and has been for 42 months. Here in Portsmouth it’s been that way the whole time. We need jobs and we need them bad. We have a lot of people hurting in this area. A lot of the promise of ‘hope and change’ from the Obama Administration, and Joe Biden of course as vice president, never reached Portsmouth. It never reached a lot of Ohio. What I take from that is there are a lot of people out there that are not happy. They are looking for a change now,” Davis said.
While Democrats try to portray Romney as being out-of-touch with the average American, Romney’s wife Ann Romney delivered a very different picture at the Republican National Convention last week. Saturday, from the Scioto County Headquarters, Craig Romney told what it was like for him growing up in the Romney household.
He said being the youngest of five brothers, it was sad for him to watch them go off to college, but he also enjoyed “hanging out” with his dad.
“I think the public is just now getting to know just what kind of many my father is. I think the opposition tried to paint him in a certain light, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said. “He’s here because he wants to help. He’s here because he thinks the country is headed in the wrong direction and he knows how to get it back on the right track.”
He remembers in 2006 when his father told the family that he was planning to run for president in 2008.
“Growing up, politics wasn’t a big part of our lives. Obviously, dad ran for Senate in 1994 and that was his first entry into politics at that point,” Romney said.
“We were all supporting at that point (when he ran for president). We didn’t know what was coming, and after he came to us again — it was probably 2010 — he asked, ‘I’m thinking about doing this. Should I do it?’ It was a lot more difficult decision, and we had to convince him, ‘You have to do this. Our country needs you.’ Even though it was difficult for our family personally, it was something we understood that he had to do. So in the end, we all were very supportive of him.”
He said he hadn’t seen much of Portsmouth since arriving late the night before, and the rain dampened much of his sightseeing, but he was hoping to swing by at least one local establishment.
“Everyone keeps telling me to go to the (Scioto) Ribber. I hope I have time,” he said.
After leaving Portsmouth, Romney’s team was headed to similar Victory Center headquarters in Athens and then a news television interview in Zanesville. Meanwhile, volunteers in Portsmouth went back to work, making phone calls for Romney and Ryan.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.