Mitt Romney made his presidential pitch to Pittsburgh middle class voters for the first time today, holding a tax day discussion with four local couples at anevent around a picnic table in Bethel Park.
Mr. Romney, the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee, listened as the couples told of their fears about health care costs, the national debt and education costs for their children. His responses largely kept circling back to his promises to revive the economy by cutting taxes and lifting regulatory burdens on domestic energy producers.
"My view is the right course for America is to bring our tax burden down, to encourage small businesses to grow and hire, and make it easier for middle income families," Mr. Romney said in a private event held behind the Bethel Park community center. "The president's orientation is to raise taxes and I happen to think that will slow economic growth, which is already slow, and make it more difficult for us to create the jobs we need."
Jason Thomas, a physician's assistant and Republican from Unity, told Mr. Romney of his worries about health care costs and the mounting national debt.
"We're very concerned about the future of our country," Mr. Thomas said. "We want our daughter to have the kind of country we had growing up."
Kelly Wassel, a Greensburg public school nurse whose husband is a private-plane mechanic, told of her worries about paying college costs for her two kids and of public school funding cuts.
"I think this election will come down to jobs and kids," Mr. Romney responded.
Pennsylvania Democratic party chair Jim Burn released a statement tied to his Pittsburgh event calling on Mr. Romney, a wealthy former venture capitalist, to release more of his tax returns.
"From the limited returns he has released, we already know that Mitt Romney has made millions by investing in tax havens in Luxembourg, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands," he said in the statement. "We also know that Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than most Pennsylvanians."
The event was held behind the Bethel Park community center and watched by local and national reporters following the candidate. He appears next at a GOP dinner in Lancaster County tonight.
Timothy McNulty: email@example.com or 412-263-1581. First Published April 18, 2012 1:30 AM