GOP front-runner Mitt Romney speaks to Fairfax County residents

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to Fairfax County residents at a rally Wednesday. (Jake McLernon)

GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney spoke to Fairfax County residents at a rally outside the Fairfax County Republican Committee headquarters Wednesday morning.

Standing in front of the headquarters building on Chain Bridge Road, less than a mile from Mason’s Fairfax campus, Romney commended Virginia state officials and urged his GOP supporters to send a message across the nation that “we want our country back.”

Romney’s appearance Wednesday morning comes less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 general election and amidst his ongoing campaign tour for president.

The former Massachusetts Governor was flanked by state and county officials including Governor Bob McDonnell, VA Delegate Barbara Comstock, and Braddock Supervisor John Cook.

In a short speech to a group of huddled onlookers, Romney said he believes President Obama has failed the country as a leader.

“Let’s face it, President Obama is a nice guy but he’s in over his head,” said Romney.

Romney said America needs to hold fast to the ideals and truths which have made the country great and believes he’s the presidential candidate to make that happen.

“I love America. I love the people of America,” declared Romney. “We’re going to take back the White House and the Virginia Legislature.”

During a question and answer period following his speech, Romney was asked to address rumors of Governor Bob McDonnell being among the top choices to join his ticket as a potential vice president.

Romney said it would be presumptuous at this time in the campaign cycle to declare a potential running mate but did say he has always spoken highly of the Virginia governor.

Another spectator asked Romney what he thought of candidate Rick Perry’s flat-tax plan.

“I like my tax plan better,” said Romney. “My plan eases the burden on those most affected by Obama’s economy, middle class families.”

Among the group of people attending the rally were Fairfax County residents, including Mason students, campaign volunteers and supporters, as well as protestors.

Chair of the Mason chapter of Students For Mitt, Michael DeMatteo, said he believes Romney is the best candidate to address the critical concerns of students such as unemployment.

DeMatteo has also been impressed with Romney’s performance in the recent GOP presidential debates.

“I’ve been watching all of the debates and I think he’s [Romney] winning all of them,” said DeMatteo.

DeMatteo was not the only Romney supporter who said he believes Governor McDonnell should be among the top choices as a running mate.

“I’ve love to see him take on Marco Rubio or Governor McDonnell,” said DeMatteo.

According to DeMatteo, there are currently 10 to 15 students active in the Students for Mitt organization at Mason. He said the group is concentrated right now on spreading the message of the Romney campaign but will soon contribute with events such as door-knocking and phone-banking. 

DC Students For Mitt was represented at the rally by students from Georgetown and George Washington University.

Not everyone at the rally embraced Romney’s message.

Some protestors, including Mason alumnus Frank Anderson, shouted chants of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Mitt Romney’s got to go!”

Anderson was attending the rally with members of the George Mason Democrats.

“If Mitt Romney comes in my back yard, I can’t stand to not do anything about it,” said Anderson. “I’m here to support my president and support my local democrats.”

Other protestors held signs with messages such as, “Mitt is Wrong-ney” and “Barack Obama 2012.”

Bart Marcois, a Romney campaign volunteer and resident of Springfield, VA, said he gives his children a four-word answer for why he supports Mitt Romney: “Mitt can fix it.”

Marcois said the expression summarizes the successes Romney has been a part of as Governor of Massachusetts and a member of the private sector, dubbing him a “turnaround specialist.”

Romney is in the middle of a campaign tour with recent appearances in New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa and South Dakota.

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