As presidential candidate Mitt Romney took his seat on stage at American Spring Wire in Bedford Heights today, thunderous cheers and high-pitched whistles reverberated through the room of shiny hard hats and giant blue bundles of wire.
Inside the plant, decorated with “We need a real recovery” posters, Romney kicked off the event, dubbed the “Micro-Manufacturing Victory Roundtable,” by focusing his attention on economic issues. First on his list was China.
“On day one, I will label China a currency manipulator,” Romney pledged.
In the town-hall-inspired discussion, small-business owners shared their economic concerns and difficulties. Some mentioned taxes and high health care costs, but the top concern for many businesses was the need for a more highly skilled workforce.
“We have 23 million people looking for a good job,” said Romney. “And we have millions of jobs that are open but cannot be filled because people don’t have the skills they need to fill those jobs.” Romney said the federal government has 47 different training programs, and that he would cut them and send those funds to individual states, allowing them to create their own.
Mike Rowe, star of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” echoed Romney’s sentiment, saying the country is disconnected from “the most important part of the workforce.”
“People who do dirty jobs represent a modest amount of the population,” said Rowe. “But think about the results of what they do. I’m addicted — hopelessly addicted — to paved roads, cheap electricity and indoor plumbing.”
A recent poll shows Romney 10 points behind President Obama in swing-state Ohio, but Romney believes his economic plan makes him the best man for the job.
“I think the president loves America,” said Romney. “I love America. I think the president cares about the people of America, and I care about the people of America. But I know how to help the people of America.”
President Obama also appeared in Northeast Ohio today. Click here to read the Toledo Blade's report from his rally in Kent, and click here to read our coverage of Obama’s June visit to Cuyahoga Community College.