Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney met a crowd of supporters in Fairfax City Wednesday to support Virginia's Republican candidates. He did not announce a running mate on his 2012 ticket or accept an endorsement from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
"I'm just here to send a message to the people of Virginia, across this Commonwealth and across the nation. And that is that we want our country back," he said.
McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling stood behind Romney at the Fairfax County Republican Committee Headquarters on Chain Bridge Road. They were flanked by a line of Republican candidates up for state House and Senate positions on Nov. 8.
Virginia is one of four states holding lawmaker elections this year. Right now the Democrats have the majority in the state Senate, but Republicans need only two seats to take it away.
Romney and McDonnell thanked volunteers and officials for their efforts in the 2009 election that netted the political party a Republican governor.
"Winning Fairfax County for the first time in 12 years, you can do that again here in 13 days, can't you?" he said. "We have a chance to make history for only the second time in 150 years by having a Virginia Republican governor and a Virginia Republican legislature."
Romney said that he'd welcome an endorsement from McDonnell but didn't expect one today. He also mentioned that the timing wasn't right to announce a possible Romney-McDonnell 2012 ticket.
"It would be presumptuous for anyone in my position, so far from the nomination, to start thinking about who might be a vice president," Romney said.
In addition to comparing Texas Governor Rick Perry's new flat tax idea with his own plan, Romney made clear his support for Ohio ballot question No. 2.
He noted a difference between his growing Republican entourage and the apparent distance between the President and his party.
"I don't think it's a surprise that there are those Democrats who perhaps don't want to be seen with him and that's because he's failed," he said. "It's very clear to the American people that President Obama, though he's a nice guy, is over his head. That he doesn't have a plan to get America back to work."
Supporters carrying signs for a variety of local Republican campaigns lined Chain Bridge Road across from City Hall. A small group of locals and George Mason University students countered them, shouting "Romney go home" and "Four more years."
John Mayer, a George Mason University student and member of GMU Democrats, joined the protests, but more to support the ideals of the Democratic Party than President Barack Obama.
"I don't know what he could do," Mayer said. "We're going to try our best to get the young vote out but kids aren't jaded, they just feel disenfranchised a little bit. Even before the bubble burst I gave him a C+. He's still a C+. He failed us. Even Democrats are open to the idea that we screwed up."