Romney rally is the real deal
By Salena Zito
Published: Saturday, July 21, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
NORTH HUNTINGDON -- Mitt Romney was fired up.
“The president actually said, if you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen.” He paused and threw his hands up before adding: “Really?”
Sitting down for an interview with the Trib in the small office of a shale-industry company, he remained agitated and energized.
The agitation was personal because he is genuinely appalled by President Obama's attitude toward business.
“I could not believe he said that. And it wasn't just a twist of phrase, he actually goes on to explain what he meant by that,” Romney said, suddenly stretching forward as if finding it difficult to contain his feelings.
The energy came from what arguably was the presumptive Republican nominee's best rally so far. More than 1,400 people had packed a 4,000-square-foot warehouse — but it wasn't the numbers, it was the event's organic nature.
This was not a stacked rally, to which the usual GOP suspects bring a friend, or a ticketed event, for which you go to a local elected official to pick up a pass reserved for people who clap on cue.
This was the real deal — and the crowd, with as many Democrats as Republicans, let Romney know they loved him and his message.
Bill Brasco of nearby Jeannette isn't just a Democrat. He is an elected Democrat, the local school board president for more than 42 years, the second-longest-serving board president in state history.
“Been a Democrat since I turned 21 and proud of it,” he said, adding that he will not vote for Obama in November.
“I just do not like the direction this country is going under the president.”
Brasco, 75, was one of many Democrats giving Romney more than a dozen standing ovations.
“I could not have been more impressed,” he said. “I particularly liked when he talked about his five-point plan to get the economy roaring.”
Brasco, who spent most of his working career in sales, listed Romney's points as if he himself had authored them: “Energy, trade, balanced budget, better education through training and skills, and economic freedom. … No, he was impressive, that was an amazing event.”
Who inspired whom more was difficult to determine: Did Romney feed on the crowd's electricity, or did it feed on his?
It doesn't matter. What matters is that weeks of Obama's attacks on Romney's time at Bain Capital and demands for the release of Romney's tax returns have not dissuaded the GOP base or soured swing Democrats or independents against Romney.
The effect, remarkably, has been the reverse.
The attacks on Romney as a businessman are ridiculous, said Mark Lisovich, who lives here. The 51-year-old father of five — including a wounded Navy combat corpsman — is another Democrat who voted for Obama but now supports Romney.
“Without private-equity firms like Bain, I wouldn't have a job,” he said of the small business he works for, which received start-up money from investors. “And what will the tax thing prove? That Romney is rich?”
Lisovich was optimistic when he voted for Obama in 2008; now he knows better, he said.
“Romney has the right vision for the country, and he understands that businesses small and large are what make America great.”
Democrats, nationally and locally, were strikingly silent about this event, held at a booming energy firm that grew in 26 months from two trucks and 20 employees to a fleet of trucks and 130 employees whose salaries start at $60,000 and, by the third year, top six figures.
Their only response was more demands for Romney's tax returns.
The TV networks, national press, Washington elite and GOP establishment continue hammering that storyline, too.
All overlook how the tax-return issue and attacks on an American business leave many Americans fuming with an intensity far surpassing 2010's voter agitation.
At the end of his interview, Romney walked down a hallway, turned and said: “That was a great rally! What an incredible country we have!”
If the Obama team also overlooks what's happening in towns such as North Huntingdon, it may do so at its own peril.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Mon Valley communities plan cleanup day activities
- U.S. Steel presents tuition scholarship money for Catholic education
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Serra Catholic’s Cole McCombs, West Mifflin’s Paige Flore
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Dravosburg residents try to save PNC Bank from closing
- Husband-wife resignations leave Lincoln short-handed
- Glassport council to crack down on absentee landlords
- Dead (& dying) ideologies
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Corbett signs child abuse protection bills