Mitt Romney told the hundreds of people packed inside Weatherly Casting and Machine Co. -- and the hundreds more assembled outside its grinding shop Saturday morning -- that growing the economy is the key to a better America.
"Job one in this country is to create jobs for the American people -- and I will," said Romney, who visited Weatherly on the second day of his "Believe In America: Every Town Counts Bus Tour."
The presumed Republican candidate for president devoted most of his 25-minute address to the economy and jobs -- and to comparing his visions for the country with those of President Barack Obama.
"I know the president wants to talk about the economy -- a little. Last time around on his campaign, his slogan was hope and change. Now I'm thinking he will want to change it to 'hoping to change the subject,'" the former Massachusetts governor said.
"He doesn't want to talk about the economy like I want to talk about the economy. I want to get America working again. I want to create more jobs for Americans because I know if we have more good jobs and more employers starting and opening their doors and competing to hire good workers, then eventually more homes will have paychecks coming in to them and also there will be more competition for workers and their wages will go up, and salaries will go up, and people will have more money to take home."
Obama, he believes, doesn't know what it takes to make enterprises grow and thrive.
"I think it helps to have been in business before you actually start to run something in government," said Romney, who suggested that Obama may have been better equipped as president had he started on a "lower level" of government, such as a state governor.
According to Romney, Obama recently described the public sector as doing "fine."
Millions are out of work or looking for jobs, and millions more are "vastly underemployed," Romney claimed.
"And then people look at their paychecks and realize for the last three and a half years the median income for America has dropped by 10 percent," he said. "We've had foreclosures across the country in record numbers. No, Mr. President, the private sector is not doing just fine."
Romney added that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally known as ObamaCare, is hindering businesses from growing. He promised to "get rid of" the health care act on his first day as president.
He also criticized Obama for supporting only "green" energy sources, and not sources like coal and natural gas.
"I want to use our oil, our natural gas, coal as well as our renewable resources as well," he said. "I believe in what's above the ground and what's below the ground."
Romney, who was joined by his wife and other members of his family, said he was enthusiastic about the future and would "make sure that every American has the opportunity to achieve their dreams."
"I not only believe the best days are ahead of us, I happen to believe that the patriotic spirit of Americans -- our love of liberty, personal liberty, economic liberty, political liberty -- that love of liberty makes us a unique nation," he said.
When Romney mentioned that Obama would seek another term as president, the crowd jeered.
"We don't want four more years, that's for sure," he said.
He asked for the crowd's help, encouraging them to vote.
"This is about saving America, keeping it strong, making sure the world can look at us as a beacon of hope and a shining city on the hill and we're going to do it together," he said.
Prior to his speech, Romney toured Weatherly Casting and met with local business owners. He was joined by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mike Leib, president of Weatherly Casting.
Pawlenty, Barletta and Leib addressed the crowd, their words carried by speakers to the hundreds who didn't have seats inside the grinding shop.
Pawlenty asked a series of questions, each of which was followed by the crowd's resounding chorus of "yeah."
"I have a few questions for you. Have you had enough of runaway federal government spending? Have you had enough of a president who thinks the private sector economy is doing fine? Have you had enough of a president presiding over the lowest rate of business formation in the last 30 years? Weatherly, have you had enough of Barack Obama?" Pawlenty asked.
In February, Leib hosted U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., at Hazleton Casting, a Hazleton business owned by Weatherly Casting. He said Romney understands the issues facing the United States and the world.
Barletta, who was on hand for the Toomey visit, thanked Leib for holding the event.
"It's not that often that we have the opportunity to be here and listen to the next president of the United States," Barletta said.
Following Romney's speech, Dave Pasquale of Tresckow said Romney has his vote.
"I liked what he had to say," he said. "I don't want to see Obama again. Four years is way too many."
Anthony and Luvina Welding of Weatherly were also impressed by Romney's address. Anthony purchased a hat from a vendor selling Romney merchandise.
"Everything he said was great," Luvina said.
Romney's six-state bus tour began Friday in New Hampshire and will end Tuesday in Michigan. Following the Weatherly visit, the tour made stops in Quakertown, Bucks County, and Cornwall, Lebanon County.
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