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Ryan continued on to a Friday afternoon for a rally at the airport in Richmond, Va., without Romney, speaking, sleeves rolled up, to a crowd standing on the sizzling tarmac.
“We are at the proverbial fork in the road. We’ve got a choice of two futures,” he said, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, standing behind him. “And what you need in a moment like this, when our economy is in doubt, when a debt crisis looms on our horizon like it’s plaguing Europe, when we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that our children are going to get a diminished future if we stay on the current path — moments like this, you need leadership, you need principled leaders. Guess what? That’s exactly what Mitt Romney is.”
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In Louisiana, Romney’s motorcade made its way through flooded lower-income and middle-income neighborhoods where extensive damage was evident. Along a row of houses on stilts, some residents were on porches and balconies. Many waved. “We need Mitt Romney,” one woman shouted.
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Romney met with state and local officials, first responders and National Guard troops in fatigues and boots. In Jean Lafitte, a fishing town, he approached three women who were barefoot and wearing T-shirts and shorts in a parking lot outside a post office and spoke with them.
Jodie Chiarello, 42, said her home was submerged to the rooftop. She said she told Romney she wanted the federal government to help the victims and do more to prevent flooding.
“He said that he was going to do the best that he could for us,” she said.
Chiarello, a Republican who works in a grocery store bakery, said she would “probably” vote for Romney. She said she appreciated his visit. “I thought he’d be more like a politician, but it was more understanding and caring,” she said.