Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge returned to his hometown Friday afternoon to support Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
He and other GOP officials addressed a standing-room-only crowd of about 250 at the Erie County Republican headquarters, 2206 W. 15th St., as part of Romney’s “Can’t Afford Four More” campaign bus tour in Pennsylvania.
Throughout his 15-minute address, Ridge discussed several issues, including Romney’s five-point economic plan, foreign policy, the presidential debates and what he believes Pennsylvania voters want for the future.
“We need a decisive, problem-solving president, and a president with a vision,” said Ridge, a former secretary of Homeland Security. “Gov. Romney has that. We also need a president who is accountable.”
Referring to the Nov. 6 presidential election, Ridge said he believes “the margin in Pennsylvania is very, very thin.”
“I think it can still go either way in spite of what the pundits say,” he said.
Ridge said Romney came across in the three presidential debates as a calm, confident executive who has a plan and a vision for the economy and America’s role in the future.
“I think people now are focusing more and more on the fact he has a vision for America for tomorrow,” Ridge said. “The president has basically said, if elected, he’ll do more of the same. More of the same doesn’t compute into a better and stronger America.”
When Ridge entered the Republican headquarters to an ovation, Kathey Scheuer, 65, of McKean, stood in the front row.
She wore a Romney-Ryan 2012 T-shirt covered with political buttons and waived a small American flag.
“What brought me out here today is the enthusiasm that Romney is bringing to us now,” Scheuer said.
“We feel he has shown us a way of going forward in this country. We don’t want to lose our country and that’s where we’re heading.”
Friday’s Erie bus entourage included appearances by Ron Kaufman, a Republican National Committee official from Massachusetts; Christine Toretti, a Republican National Committee official from Pennsylvania; and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist.
The group visited Erie after earlier campaign bus stops Friday in Greensburg and Pittsburgh.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann also was scheduled to appear in Erie, but did not make the trip.
A campaign official said Swann returned to Pittsburgh after the second campaign stop so he could watch his son play football Friday night.