Obama to visit Mansfield
President to campaign here and in Akron on Wednesday
MANSFIELD — Some area residents had an inkling President Barack Obama was headed this way for a campaign stop, even before the announcement was made on Friday.
Out of the blue, Southside Drive Thru & Pizza owner Vickie Shaffner got two calls over the past week from Obama for America representatives. She was quizzed on how the local economy was doing, how many employees she had, and whether she has any plans to expand her business.
Richland County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Mudra was asked to provide the Obama campaign with names of area local small business owners. At the time, Mudra said, he thought the request seemed like a routine campaign season question.
But Obama for America confirmed the President would travel to Ohio, Florida and Virginia next week to lay out his vision to rebuild the economy from the middle out, cut taxes for middle-class families and reduce the country’s deficit.
On Wednesday, he will visit Mansfield and Akron.
Shaffner wasn’t sure Friday whether her conversations with Obama campaign representatives out of Chicago and elsewhere mean she’ll be called upon to prepare pizza for the president and his campaign staff.
“I’m not absolutely sure what they’re looking at,” she said. They’re going to keep that stuff close to their chest.”
It could be tough for Southside Pizza to handle a White House visit.
“If I could get 10 cars in my parking lot, I would be lucky,” she said.
But Shaffner is elated the president is coming to Mansfield as he runs for a second term.
“I think it would be absolutely awesome, stunning, exciting,” Shaffner said. “I think it would certainly put this town on the map and show what’s going on around here — people struggling.”
Shaffner told campaign staffers she is concerned about north central Ohio.
“My father has been self-employed in real estate for many years,” she said. “You know how that (sector) is. My brother is in construction, and he hasn’t built a house in two years.”
Shaffner said she has continued to support Obama.
“I think he needs to be given a second term,” she said. “I still firmly believe in my president. I think he’s had a lot of roadblocks thrown at him to make him look bad.”
Brenda Baker, owner of Fast Eddie’s pizza shop in Bellville, also received a call Thursday night from campaign representatives.
“They just asked how the economy as affecting businesses, how businesses here were doing, and whether we were planning any expansions,” she said. “Like I told them, the economy is getting better. But people are still struggling.”
Some customers who used to go out to dinner once a week now go out once a month, she said.
Campaign staffers gave no indication what the end result of the discussion might be, Baker said. While she’d be glad to serve the president pizza, she doubted that a campaign stop would take place there.
“I’m clear in Bellville — so if they stop in Mansfield, I seriously doubt if they’ll be here.”
What they are saying on the MNJ here – http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/comments/article/20120728/NEWS01/207280304/Obama-visit-Mansfield