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Romney will visit North Huntingdon company Tuesday

| Saturday, July 14, 2012, 12:24 p.m.
Tribune-Review
U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith greets Bob Shaffer of Vandergrift outside the Republican Party's Westmoreland County Victory Office in downtown Greensburg on July 14, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to bring his campaign to Westmoreland County on Tuesday, delivering his message about creating jobs and growing the economy to a North Huntingdon company deeply involved in natural gas exploration.

Romney is scheduled to make a campaign appearance at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Horizontal Wireline Services LLC at 381 Colonial Manor Road, Chairwoman Jill Cooper of the county Republican committee announced on Saturday to a packed crowd at the GOP's campaign headquarters in Greensburg. The doors to the campaign event will open at 11:30 a.m.

Horizontal Wireline provides well completion and well evaluation services, according to its website.

Joseph Sites, owner of Horizontal Wireless, could not be reached for comment.

State Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield, said she had contacted the company's owner for the Romney campaign and he agreed to the visit. The company moved into Westmoreland County a few years ago and employs about 100 people.

The Westmoreland County Republican Party held the event at its longtime headquarters on Maple Avenue, which the party has renamed a Victory Center. A similar center opened on Saturday in Montgomery County under the party's Victory Pennsylvania Program.

The Greensburg event attracted about 120 people, some of whom had to stand outside the office.

U.S. Senate nominee Tom Smith of Armstrong County and state treasurer nominee Diana Irey Vaughn of Washington County appeared before party faithful to get them enthused for the campaign heading into the Nov. 6 general election.

Smith, a retired Armstrong County coal mine owner, said his opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, D-Scranton, and President Obama must be defeated in November for the good of the country.

Smith said the health care reform plan is not about providing health care, but about expanding government.

“Barack Obama and Bob Casey are just flat-out wrong (with) bigger government, record debt, stagnant unemployment ... (and) less freedom through the failed policies of Obamacare. As Republicans, we have the winning vision.” he said.

“We know the private sector creates jobs — not government spending or government programs,” Smith said. The Democrats' approach to big government is adding “a pile of debt onto our children.”

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who had been Romney's rival until dropping out of the race shortly before the Pennsylvania primary in April, said the upcoming presidential election is the most critical in our lifetime.

“This is a tipping point in American history. A tipping point as to what kind of country we are going to be,” Santorum said.

He accused Obama of being “drunk with power” now in the face of an election.

“Imagine what he would do with four more years,” said the former U.S. senator, who lost to Casey in 2006.

Santorum told campaign volunteers that Romney needs a big vote in Westmoreland County — greater than the 100,000 that George W. Bush received in 2004 — to win in Pennsylvania.

“Westmoreland County is the key. You must do better this time — 110,000 or 115,000” votes, Santorum said.

Santorum said he has been assisting the Romney campaign in its battle against Obama, recently opening two campaign headquarters in Iowa.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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