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In Ohio, earthy Boehner is a contrast to squeaky clean Romney

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop at K’s Hamburger Shop on Sunday, June 17, 2012 in Troy, Ohio. From left, Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, Romney, and Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

TROY, Ohio — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the clean-cut son of a former governor, and House Speaker John A. Boehner, the cigarette-smoking son of a bar owner, joined forces here Sunday, marking the first time this campaign season the two powerful Republicans have shared a stage and the first time they’ve ever met for burgers.

The appearance capped the third day of a bus tour that the former Massachusetts governor is taking through the all-important battleground state of Ohio, where Mr. Romney is looking to shore up his support among rural voters who make up part of the party’s base.

Standing on the bed of a pickup truck in the center of town, Mr. Boehner told the hundreds gathered that President Obama and Democrats have obstructed House Republicans’ efforts to pass legislation that aims to get more people back to work.

“We need to get rid of the roadblock and put someone in the White House who understands the economy,” Mr. Boehner said, ignoring the chants from protesters who chanted “Romney go home!”

“We understand how the economy works, we understand what it is going to take to get the American people back to work, and we need someone in the White House who understands our economy, somebody who has balanced a budget, returned taxpayer dollars to the people of his state. You know who that person is: It is Mitt Romney,” Mr. Boehner said.

The stylistic differences between the two men was also on display.

Mr. Boehner opened his remarks with an off-color joke about how 22 years ago when he first ran for Congress people usually mispronounced his name, sparking some laughter from the crowd.

Mr. Romney, meanwhile, stuck close to his usual stump speech, saying that Mr. Obama’s policies have been a drag on the economy. The two men then walked into nearby K’s Hamburger Shop, where Mr. Romney had a Father’s Day moment concerning an American Motors vehicle.

During the rally, Mr. Romney had stood in a blue AMC Rambler truck owned by a young K’s employee, but manufactured under his now-deceased father George Romney, the one-time head of American Motors Corp.

As Mr. Romney headed back to the main dining area, scheduled to eat burgers with Mr. Boehner, he said, “I want to get out in the Rambler” and then barreled back out of K’s and over to the 1961 vehicle with its owner, 20-year-old Michael Scheib.

With the two men inside the truck, Mr. Scheib leaned over to Mr. Romney, and suddenly the horn honked. Later, when asked what he’d told the former governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Scheib said, “I said, ‘Scare ‘em! Press on the horn.’ “

After, the two men got out of the car, and Mr. Romney spread a brochure on the hood. “Look at this,” he said. “Here’s the brochure of this car a 1961 Rambler.”

Pointing to a picture of George Romney, in the corner of the brochure, the candidate continued: “And here’s the guy who made them, up there that’s my dad. Isn’t that something? My dad did that. Isn’t that something?”

About the Author
Seth McLaughlin

Seth McLaughlin, a reporter on the Politics Desk, can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SethMcLaughlin1

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