Mitt Romney comes to Ames


Photo: Kelsey Kremer/Iowa State Daily

Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney waves to audience members as he takes the stage of the Central Campus auditorium Wednesday, Aug. 8, in Des Moines. 

Thaddeus Mast

Mitt Romney will be giving a significant “policy speech on economic issues” Friday, a Romney adviser said. It will be held at Kinzler Construction Services on West Lincoln Way. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 11:30.

“He will make the case that his Plan for a Stronger Middle Class and his experience in creating private sector jobs, in rescuing the Olympics, and as governor of Massachusetts offer the best path to success in the wake of the failure of the last four years,” the press release stated.

This does not surprise Mack Shelley, professor of political science.

“The economy is his prime weapon,” Shelley said. “He’s staking his whole campaign on that he’s better able to run an economy.”

While this is stated as an economic issues speech, other issues that are important to college students may be discussed.

“I would imagine, being around Campustown, there’s a really good chance he’ll talk about education,” said Kyle Etzel,  president of the College Republicans. “He wants to do as much as he can to make college as affordable for everybody as he can. A big part of that policy ties back into finding more jobs for people. That’s really the top priority of the campaign right now.”

Shelley does not believe ISU students or education are the priority of this event.

“The support Romney has in a place like Ames isn’t going to come from the students,” Shelley said. “It’s more likely to come from the local business community, rural voters, small town farmers — the kind of traditional Republican support base.”

Shelley went on to add: “I don’t think he’s focused on education, I think he’s focused on jobs. I think the argument is once you get through college, you can get a job once you’ve graduated.”

While this is Romney’s first visit since Dec. 29 of last year, his late visit just 11 days before the election may leave a lasting impact on voters.

“I think he’s going to excite people because he’s coming and he’s a presidential candidate,” Etzel said. “I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Iowa State, nationwide, is definitely a more conservative campus and I think there’s a lot more Republicans on campus than people realize, and I think a lot of people are going to come out.”

“According to the national polls, the number of people who say they’re uncommitted is a pretty small fraction of the total. I think really it’s about solidifying base support,” Shelley said.

The visit will also remind people to vote on Nov. 6.

“For the Republicans, turnout means getting people out on election day, not so much about early voting. The Democrats have been out there for a while with early voting efforts,” Shelley said.

Etzel has been trying to get Romney to come to Ames for a while and is excited for someone to voice Republican opinions.

“He’s giving us the opportunity to hear a presidential candidate speak and to hear the other side,” Etzel said. “We’ve heard so much between Bruce Springsteen and Justin Long and President [Barack] Obama about the Obama Campaign that it’ll be nice to have an opposing viewpoint in Ames.”

Tickets can be obtained from Airport-like security will be used, so bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed. Cameras will be permitted. The first 100 people in the door will receive a Romney stocking cap, while the next 750 will get a bumper sticker.