While Republican candidate Gov. Mitt Romney ended his campaign stop in Leesburg Wednesday with comments that he wants to bring America together, one of his supporters kicked off the event by seemingly questioning President Barack Obama’s faith.
“I know who Romney prays to. That’s the same god that I pray, too,” said musician Andy Griggs, adding that he wasn’t so sure about other folks in Washington, DC.
An estimated 8,000 people showed up to see Romney speak at Ida Lee Park in Loudoun County. Both presidential candidates and their wives have each made at least one stop in Loudoun, considered a bellwether of Virginia. And Virginia is one of the key swing states in this year’s campaign, pitting challenger Romney against the president.
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A who’s who of Loudoun Republicans took the stage for parts of the ceremony, including Delegates Barbara Comstock, Randy Minchew and Joe May, and U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf.
Griggs was not the only entertainer tapped to pitch for Romney in Leesburg. Comedian Dennis Miller helped warm the crowd as well. Miller said you might actually hear the word “gosh” pop out of Romney’s mouth.
“We had the hipster president. Isn’t it time for the ‘gosh’ president,” Miller said, offering his reason for why many people have said Romney looks presidential. “It has little to do with his appearance and it has everything to do with the way he has lived his life.”
Character was a theme throughout the evening. Minchew said Romney “has the mind, the intellect, the character, the grace to be an outstanding president.”
Wolf introduced Romney and said, “America is in trouble” because of its $16 trillion in debt.
When Romney took the stage, he said Obama’s strategy was misguided and has run out of steam.
“The president’s policies are operating on fumes,” he said. “It’s time to get a president who can get this country to work again.”
Romney warned that Obama’s policies will increase taxes for everyone and cut Medicare for seniors, assertions denied by Obama’s camp. On the contrary, Obama’s campaign says Romney’s policies call for lower taxes and more spending, which equate to higher deficits or higher taxes.
“There’s one place he’s willing to cut spending, and that’s for our military,” Romney said about Obama, raising concerns about that position. “I don’t think the world’s a safe place. America’s military must be second to none and so strong no one will ever test us.”
Romney also touched on government regulation indirectly, suggesting the government can get in the way of progress.
“Our economy is driven by freedom, by people pursuing their dreams,” he said. “I want to brink that back. It’s also driven by patriotism. I want to bring America together. I want to restore the values that make Americans what we are.”
And like everyone who has stopped in Virginia, Romney made it clear that every vote here counts.
“It’s up to you guys in Virginia. You could make the difference,” he said.
The stop came one night after Romney and Obama faced off in their second debate. The third and final debate is set for Monday.