Lisa Morley likes Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum for his religious beliefs.
But the 32-year-old Tunkhannock mother also thinks former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a better chance at beating President Barack Obama than the former Pennsylvania senator in the general election.
Speaking at a campaign rally Thursday held for Mr. Romney at Mountain Energy Services Inc., she said she is focused on getting the president out of office.
"I don't think he (Santorum) has a shot at winning this so I would support Romney over him just because he has a better chance of beating Obama," Mrs. Morley said. "At this point I am pretty much against what Obama does."
The rally Thursday drew Mrs. Morley and hundreds of people from throughout the area and beyond. The event attracted Democrats and Republicans, as well as critics and supporters of Mr. Romney.
It also attracted people who, like Mrs. Morley, believed Mr. Romney will likely be the Republican nominee and has the best chance at beating the president. People at the event who described themselves as undecided echoed Mrs. Morley's opinion that it seemed Mr. Romney will win the nomination, including former Democratic Wyoming County Commissioner Stark Bartron.
Surrounded by trucks that service the natural gas industry and other vehicles that hid a makeshift stage from drivers traveling on nearby state Route 92, people stood and chatted in a parking lot as they waited for Mr. Romney to appear. Some held small American flags. Others ate free food that included chicken and potatoes, among other items. Country music and classic rock blared from loudspeakers.
Mr. Romney appeared on stage and the music stopped. The former governor spoke for about 14 minutes and focused solely on the president. After his speech, Mr. Romney shook hands with more than a dozen people, including Cindy Roberts, 53, of Tunkhannock.
"I admire him and I have a lot of respect for him," Ms. Roberts said.
The crowd also included a Republican who served in Congress and a Democrat who wants to serve.
Former U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood, who represented Wyoming County and the 10th Congressional District until his election defeat in 2006, said he wasn't endorsing either Mr. Santorum or Mr. Romney, but predicted "Mitt's probably going to be the nominee, and I think we can get him elected."
"Romney will do much, much better in Pennsylvania in the general election than Rick will," Mr. Sherwood said. "I think Romney will pull a lot of independents and moderates."
Mr. Obama will lose because his "record is so poor."
"He has no energy policy, and we're suffering at the pump," he said. "I'm surprised that they don't have the president's picture on every gas pump."
Democrat Gene Stilp, who is seeking the 11th Congressional District that now includes Wyoming County, brought his large inflatable pig along and set it up just down Route 92. He said Mr. Romney wants to balance the federal budget at the expense of the poor and middle class while extending President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the "very wealthy."
"The pig symbolizes waste in government," Mr. Stilp said. "He (Mr. Romney) is for the huge waste in government. --The oil and gas industry have some of the biggest tax breaks in the world. Who pays for those tax cuts but small businesses all across the country?"
Later, Mr. Stilp said he walked up and shook hands with Mr. Romney, who was greeting supporters after speaking. He said he told the presidential candidate he opposed the House-passed Republican budget that Mr. Romney backs.
"He withdrew --with this shocked look on his face, and his eyes got big and that was that," Mr. Stilp said.
Other people also were critical of Mr. Romney or expressed support for another candidate.
Genova Holt, who was with fellow Keystone College students enrolled in public policy class, said she likes Republican contender Ron Paul, who appeals to younger people because of his independence.
Lynn Manheim, who described herself as a Democrat, said she would not vote for Mr. Romney or any other Republican.
The Clinton Twp. resident passed out fliers for a group -- Dogs Against Romney -- that is critical of the presidential candidate for, according to a Boston Globe report, taking a 12-hour drive from Boston to Canada in 1983 with the family dog, Seamus, strapped to the top of the station wagon in a rooftop carrier.
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