There are two initiatives on the ballot there for the election to take place on 8 November, one of which – Issue 2 – would ratify Senate Bill 5, which would curtail some collective bargaining rights for public employees, a move similar to that taken in Wisconsin last February (which resulted in mobs of union workers storming the capitol building in Madison).
Last June, Romney, standing beside Ohio Governor John Kasich, stated: “My friends in Ohio are fighting to defend crucial reforms that the state has put in place to limit the power of union bosses and keep taxes low. I stand with John R. Kasich and Ohio's leaders as they take on this important fight to get control of government spending.”
It was to be expected, then, that Romney’s visit to the phone bank, with volunteers working to increase support for the measures, would have elicited another statement of support and encouragement to the workers. Instead, Romney responded to the obvious question thusly: "I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues. Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the efforts of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party's efforts here."
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to stand in a roomful of workers at a rally, complete with colourful posters, and back off on endorsing the reason for that rally after having said that he would stand with them.
One reason for his retreat could be that now the measure is an uphill fight in the state, and he wouldn’t want to be associated with what may be a losing proposition. Patrick Henry would call him a ‘sunshine patriot’ in that regard.
Consider the other initiative on the ballot too. Issue 3 would prevent a law that would compel an individual or corporation to purchase health insurance. That would certainly add to the political chilling effect for Romney showing anything but neutrality in this election. He showed similar lack of resolve in the budget battle last July.
But before he left the rally, he remembered to ask for their support. Class act.
Rick Perry responded to the news by issuing his own statement: "As a true conservative, I stand with Governor Kasich in promoting S.B.5 for fiscal responsibility and job creation in Ohio. Gov. Kasich and the Republican leadership of Ohio are to be commended for their efforts. My record as a pro-jobs governor is clear and you don't have to wonder where I stand."