Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
“This November the people of Ohio are going to make sure we get a Republican in the White House.”
That is what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a crowd of roughly 5,000 Ohioans Saturday morning. With his vice presidential running mate and Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan by his side, the duo nicknamed the “comeback team” made their Ohio debut at Green Village Park in Powell, about 30 minutes away from Ohio State’s campus.
“It is good to be back here in Big Ten country,” said Ryan, who mentioned he was looking forward to the Sept. 1 football game between OSU and Miami University (Ohio), his alma mater.
Slightly behind schedule, Romney and Ryan greeted a cheering crowd around 9:30 a.m. Ryan spoke first for about 15 minutes, followed by Romney who spoke for about 20 minutes. The two candidates were not speaking from a stage, but from the middle of a grassy area fenced off from the crowd.
Ryan spoke first, and pointed out his running mate’s success in the private sector as one reason why Romney would be able to create jobs and grow the economy.
“This is a man who started small business; this is a man who turned around struggling businesses,” Ryan said.
Ryan accused the current administration under President Barack Obama of overstepping their boundaries and growing the size of the government, and said under a Republican administration he and Romney would put an end to it.
“We will not try to replace our founding principles; we will try to reapply our founding principles. It’s about reclaiming the idea of this country,” Ryan said. “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government. ”
When Ryan finished his speech, he introduced Romney to the crowd, who also spoke against big government.
“The job of the government is to protect the freedoms of the people so they can build a better life for themselves,” he said.
Romney said that under his administration, he will balance the budget and help small businesses, reiterating that people create jobs, not the government.
The candidate also said “I don’t want America to become Europe” referring to the economic collapse in Greece, and said that as president he plans to bring down the national debt.
“I’m convinced that you’re going to see, by virtue of this administration, this economy roaring back,” he said.
A crowd of about 15 protesters were with the group Fight for a Fair Economy, who call themselves “a voice for working people” according to their website, chanted throughout both Ryan and Romney’s speeches. The protestors were dressed in black and carrying signs that said “Hands off our Medicare.” One protestor was carrying a small black cardboard coffin.
“We’re trying to keep Medicare, we’re all going to need it someday and older people now are going to suffer because of him,” said Bernie Yohu, a canvasser for the Obama campaign. “He has no idea what’s going on.”
Some OSU students came out to the event to show their support for the candidates, such as fourth-year engineering student Ethan Pope.
Pope, who volunteers with the OSU College Republicans called the event “really good,” and said that Romney is “the man for the job.”
Sam Stecher, a fourth-year in finance said he “felt really energized by the experience,” and it was ” good to feel everyone so united in our goal.”
Ryan made his last Ohio stops on Aug. 15 to Miami University (Ohio) and Walsh University in North Canton, unaccompanied by Romney, whose last trip to the state was Aug. 14 when he visited Chillicothe.
Obama made a visit to Columbus last Tuesday, where he spoke to a crowd of about 3,300 at Capital University. He talked extensively about student loans and paying for college after a quick stop at the Ohio Union for lunch.
Patrick Maks and Todd Avery contributed to this article.