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Romney’s Virginia Rally Focuses on Economy, Turns Out Faithful

Romney supporters gather in Northern Virginia. NewsHour Photo by Cassie M. Chew

Conservative-leaning voters in the swing state of Virginia on Thursday had another opportunity to see former Massachusetts Gov.Mitt Romney in their backyard, and several told the NewsHour they are backing him because of economic concerns.

The Romney campaign bus made a stop in Fairfax, and the Republican presidential nominee continued to attack the Obama administration on jobs and the economy. He said his own experiences in the private sector will improve economic development

“I didn’t just study economics in school. I’ve lived in the economy for 25 years,” Romney told a crowd of about 500 people gathered at Van Dyck Park. “We need more entrepreneurs and innovators … more freedom for Americans.”

Romney said he would make the U.S. energy independent in eight years, repeal the president’s signature health care law he’s dubbed “Obamacare,” as well as protect theft of intellectual property from foreign countries, including China.

Among the speakers tasked to warm up the crowd for Romney was a small business owner from Northern Virginia who came to America as an immigrant.

“Nineteen years ago I arrived with $200 in my pocket and the belief that I could live a better life in America,” Amy Liu, co-owner of Cyber Data Technologies, said before Romney was introduced. The Herndon-based company, incorporated in 2000, is an SBA certified minority woman-owned business and has been listed among the top Asian-American businesses in the country.

“If a CEO didn’t bring prosperity, but debt, what would you do?” Liu asked. “Fire him!” the crowd answered.

For Bob Morin, the economy, the unemployment rate and the debt crisis have merged as deciding factors in selecting the next president. Morin, an information technology specialist who lives in Prince William County, has worked as a contractor for the Defense Department. He has been out of a job for the past six months.

The threat of a 10 percent across-the-board cut to the U.S. defense budget in January, as brokered in the 2011 deal between Republicans and Democrats to raise the nation’s debt limit, Morin said, is impeding his search for work.

“No one wants to hire anyone,” he told the NewsHour. “They worry they will have to lay off people because of this sequestration issue.”

“Things will get better if we get this man in the White House,” he added, referring to Romney.

Recent retiree Shirley Brahaney told the NewsHour she’s worried about the unemployment rate. “People have lost their jobs and their homes,” she said.

Brahaney, wife of a retired Navy veteran, acknowledged the Obama administration’s foreign policy accomplishments, but said the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya is an example of weakness.

The former administrative professional also is concerned about how the country’s $16 trillion dollar debt will impact her 18 grandchildren.

“They are going to be paying this back for years. That upsets me … I’m ready to take a chance on someone new.”

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