VAN METER — Nine-year-old Jacob Crystal squinted into the wind while his mom posed him next to his twin brother, Caleb, for the camera.
“This is history in the making,” Michele Crystal, of Adel, told her boys, explaining why she pulled them out of school on a chilly fall morning to hear Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speak at a farm in rural Van Meter.
“I think the election has turned the corner,” Crystal said. “I’m confident.”
Romney spoke to a crowd of 1,150 Tuesday at the farm of James and Margaret Koch where he hit on farming, the military and the economy during a 15-minute speech.
His podium was framed by a tractor and a barn with a blue-and-white sign proclaiming “Iowa Stands With Romney-Ryan” covering one side of the barn roof.
His introduction speakers, who included U.S. Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and Josh Romney, all made at least a passing reference to farming and the economy.
Meanwhile, a biplane buzzed overhead trailing a banner that read “Crack down on Wall St. not Sesame St.,” a reference to Romney’s pledge to cut funding for public broadcasting if elected.
“I thought he talked about everything I wanted him to,” said Jim Gorsche, a retired veteran from Pleasant Hill who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
“Most important was what he said about the military and keeping it strong,” Gorsche said. “That’s the kind of commander we need.”
Romney had told the crowd that he would not cut military spending, eliciting some of the loudest cheers of the speech.
The speech also served as an inspiration to 17-year-olds Ben Elliot, Trey Castle and Sarah Adams, all juniors at Norwalk High School.
They received permission from their government teacher to attend Romney’s appearance but were disappointed as they left the Koch property.
“We both have birthdays in November, but after the election,” Elliot said, nodding to Castle. “So we can’t vote for him yet. I’ve liked him ever since he got the nomination.”