WESTERVILLE, Ohio — Mitt Romney encouraged a group of several hundred college students at a small liberal arts school here Friday to pursue their educational and career ambitions — even if it means asking their parents for money if they need a hand in doing so.
Addressing an auditorium full of students and faculty at Otterbein University as part of his latest effort to woo young voters, the GOP presidential frontrunner contended that President Obama’s policies have amounted to an attack on success and on those who aspire to be successful.
“This kind of divisiveness, this attack on success is very different than what we’ve seen in our country’s history,” he said. “We’ve always encouraged young people, take — take a shot, go for it. Take a risk. Get the education. Borrow money, if you have to, from your parents. Start a business.”
He went on to cite the example of Jimmy John, founder of the popular Illinois-based sandwich chain, who he said he had met with recently along the campaign trail.
Romney told the crowd that as a young man, Jimmy John (whose full name is Jimmy John Liautaud) had borrowed $25,000 from his father in order to get his first restaurant off the ground. Liautaud’s father had made the loan on the condition that if his son wasn’t able to return the money, with interest, within a year, he would have to join the Army.
“And, as you chucklingly indicated a moment ago, you know that his sandwiches are doing pretty well,” Romney told the crowd. “He’s got shops all over the country and thousands of people who work with him. This is kind of an American experience.”
Earlier Friday, in a roundtable with seven Otterbein students,
one of the students raised the point that many young people can’t find work related to their college majors. Romney noted that some majors tend to make it easier than others for students to find jobs post-graduation.
With certain majors, “there’s a lot of openings ... as opposed to, say, English — as an English major, I can say this — as an English major, your options are – you’d better go to graduate school and find a job from there,” said Romney, who graduated with an English degree from Brigham Young University before heading to law and business school.