Romney appeals to women, small business owners, in local rally

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to a crowd in Fairfax (photo courtesy of Dakota Cunningham)
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to a crowd in Fairfax (photo courtesy of Dakota Cunningham)

Video Shot by Trevor DeSaussure and Jake McLernon

Video Edited by Trevor DeSaussure

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a rally in Fairfax on Thursday, September 13.

The rally took place in Van Dyck Park, two miles north of the Fairfax campus. Over 2,000 people attended.

“Northern Virginia could well determine who wins the election,” Romney told the audience.

Virginia has frequently been cited as a battleground state in the election and candidates from both parties frequently visit the state.

Before Romney arrived, several women involved in local small business spoke about the importance of the election and the economic difficulties that they face.

(photo courtesy of Dakota Cunningham)“Unemployment for women has hit a         record high under Obama,” said Debbie Munoz, who spoke first.

“Between January 2009, when Obama took office, and March 2012, the most recent month available, women’s labor force participation declined by 1.7 percentage points,” read an article on, which reviewed the claim made by Munoz and others. “Over the same period that the women’s labor participation rate was declining by 1.7 percentage points under Obama, the decline for men was actually steeper–2.2 percentage points.

After the initial speakers left the stage, Romney’s campaign bus pulled up with the words “Conservative. Businessman. Leader.” printed on the side.

Romney began his speech by criticizing Obama on reduced military spending. The Massachusetts governor wants to improve the economy so veterans can come home to jobs.

A growing issue in the election is the impact of sequestration on the Northern Virginia and national economies. According to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, in fiscal year 2011 the government spent $26.5 billion in Fairfax County. That same year Congress passed a bill that aimed to reduce the deficit. The bill created a bipartisan “super committee” required to compromise on a detailed deficit-reduction plan by a certain deadline. When the deadline was not met, a series of automatic spending cuts, called “sequestration,” took place. Some of those cuts involve the military budget and will go into effect in 2013.

On the campaign trail, Governor Romney and other Republicans have blamed President Obama for allowing these military cuts to be implemented.

According to a report released by Mason’s Center for Regional Analysis, “a combined $45.1 billion reduction in the purchase of military the Department of Defense would reduce GDP by $86.5 billion and result in the loss of 1,006,320 direct, indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the U.S. economy...”

In Virginia, the Romney Campaign has aired television ads citing this study, and highlighting the amount of jobs predicted to be lost.

Early in his speech Romney took a moment to address the recent attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya. Earlier this week, the governor was criticized for claiming Obama was “sympathizing” with the attackers. A protester in the audience interrupted Romney, claiming he was “politicizing Libya.” The protester was removed from the rally.

Security escorts protester from the rally (photo courtesy of Dakota Cunningham)“I would offer a moment of silence but one gentleman doesn’t want to be silent, so we’re going to keep on going,” said Romney in response to the incident.

Shortly after, Romney addressed America’s role in the Middle East.

“The Middle East needs American leadership,” Romney said.

Romney then laid out his five-step plan to improve the economy.

“We’re going to take advantage of our own energy sources,” Romney said. His goal is to become energy independent and says that offshore oil drilling is a key part of reaching that goal.

Romney’s second step is to “make trade work for America.” At the rally, Romney called China “currency manipulators” and claimed they “don’t protect [American] intellectual property.”

“Trade is going to work for us, not just for them,” Romney said.

Next Romney plans to improve education in America by “mak[ing] our schools more competitive.” He also wants to “champion small businesses,” which he said account for two thirds of all U.S. jobs. Romney’s final step is to repeal Obamacare and to enact Medicare reforms.

“If we do those five things, we’re gonna create five million jobs,” Romney said.

The presidential candidate claimed he had the experience to turn America’s economy around.

(Photo courtesy of Dakota Cunningham)“I didn’t just study the economy in school, I’ve lived in this economy for 25 years,” Romney said.

Romney insisted that small businesses would be essential to improving the economy.

“American entrepreneurship will rekindle this economy,” said Romney to chants of “We built it!” a popular slogan of the campaign.

Romney finished the rally by greeting members of the audience before leaving the park.

(Photos courtesy of Dakota Cunningham)

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