By Molly K. Hooper - 06/18/12 01:25 AM EDT
TROY, OHIO -- House Speaker John Boehner (R) says he can deliver the campaign battleground state of Ohio for Mitt Romney's presidential bid.
The highest ranking elected Republican appeared at a rally in his Ohio district with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sunday evening.
"Sure? I'm going to quote you on that," The Hill responded.
“I know you are," Boehner replied, as he shook hands with constituents gathered along the metal crowd partitions, greeting familiar faces who waited to shake hands with the Speaker and Romney as they departed from the restaurant.
The event was Boehner and Romney’s first joint public appearance together this election cycle.
The Speaker remained neutral during the heated GOP presidential primary, only endorsing Romney after it was clear that the former Massachusetts governor would become the GOP presidential nominee.
Though he has had numerous phone conversations with Romney, and his office has regular conference calls with Romney’s campaign staff, Boehner met in person with the presumptive nominee for the first time last Monday in Atlanta. The two leaders held an hour-long conversation, a source familiar with the conversation told The Hill.
Before heading into the Troy, Ohio greasy spoon, Boehner, Romney, Ann Romney and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) pumped up hundreds of locals who had gathered in the blocked off street on a balmy afternoon waiting to hear from the headliners.
Portman – often included on the short list of Romney’s potential vice-presidential running mates – noted the importance of the Buckeye state in deciding presidential elections.
"We're at the heart of it all. After all, two of the last three presidential elections were decided by Ohio," Portman noted, adding his confidence that Ohio would “help” Romney in November.
Nearly a dozen protestors slipped past the checkpoint to enter the viewing area on the blocked off street in the sleepy town.
Just as Boehner started his speech, the handful of anti-Romney attendees started chanting “Romney, go home.”
Since the protesters were in the back of the area, the Secret Service and other law enforcement officials protecting the event couldn’t do anything to stop the chanting.
Boehner, however, was undaunted by the low-level ruckus, which was taking place behind the press risers at the event.
The Speaker briefly acknowledged the unrelenting chants by calling politics a “crazy business,” but he pressed on through the background noise.
Romney, too, shouted his remarks over the background chants that continued unabated throughout the duration of the 20-minute barnstorming rally.
Sunday evening’s drop-in at K’s restaurant capped a full day of events on the hustings in the Buckeye state.
The former Massachusetts governor rolled up to the event in a decorated high-tech bus with images of famous U.S. landmarks – a lighthouse, a red-barn, silos and other pictures – under the words: “Romney Believe in America … Every Town Counts.”
Romney kicked off his five-day, six state battleground tour in New Hampshire last Thursday.
On his tour, he is visiting states that President Obama won in the 2008 election. In addition to New Hampshire, the bus trip will take him to Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan.