TOLEDO, Ohio — Hours after clinching primary night wins in both Arizona and Michigan, Mitt Romney turned his attention to the battleground state of Ohio, appearing at a small grassroots rally where he continued to tout his business-heavy resume.
“Well it was a big night last night for me. I was very pleased. Very good news,” said Romney, to a crowd of about 100 on the factory floor of American Posts, a steel manufacturer that specializes in creating U-shape posts to support highway signs. ”Arizona and Michigan, right next door. And interestingly, the people who said the economy and jobs were their number one issue, they voted for me overwhelmingly. And that’s one of the reasons I’m running.”
“For me this is all about more jobs, less debt, and smaller government,” Romney said. “The president’s failed. He says – correctly – that he inherited a recession. And he did. He doesn’t remind us by the way that he also inherited a Democratic House and Senate. And he was able to do whatever he wanted to do. And for two years, he put in place his plans and look at us, we’re still three years later, in an economy that’s bumping along the bottom.”
While he did not name any of his GOP rivals by name, unlike last week when Rick Santorum was a staple in the majority of Romney’s speeches, the former Massachusetts governor alluded to the “couple of guys” who are still in the race.
“You are going to have a choice in Ohio about people running for president,” he said. “First, in our nomination process, do you want someone who has spent his life in the private sector, who understands where jobs come from? Or do you want someone who has spent his career in Washington? There are a couple of guys who spent their entire career in Washington and you can vote for them, I just don’t think we are going to beat Barack Obama and get our country back on track if we have guys whose resume looks like his resume, who have never really run anything, don’t understand how the private sector works fundamentally, in their bones having worked in it, I do.”
“It is one of the reasons I am running because I know how to get America working again,” Romney said.
Spotted standing quietly in the back of the crowd during Romney’s speech was Sam Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, the Ohio resident who famously questioned then-candidate Barack Obama about his tax policy in 2008, quickly becoming a catchphrase during the presidential election. On Tuesday, Wurzelbacher was seen at a Santorum event in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Talking to reporters after the event, Wurzelbacher said he would not be endorsing a candidate in the primary.
“He speaks well, he makes some sense, but I still haven’t made my choice,” he said.
Asked if he had any advice for Romney, Wurzelbacher responded, “The guy’s made it most everywhere he’s ever tried, I don’t think he needs my advice.”
“Maybe hang out with some steelworkers, hang out with some plumbers and carpenters, you know, see what it’s like, these blue collar guys who do it every day in and out,” he said.
Later during a tour of the factory, Romney got some hands-on experience working the conveyor belt.
“I gotta push a button. That’ll be my heavy-lift in terms of manufacturing…today,” he said.