CINCINNATI - With the Ohio 2012 Republican presidential primary now less than a month away, candidates are starting to increase their appearances in the Tri-State area.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke in front of an overflow crowd at the landmark Price Hill Chili restaurant on Glenway Avenue for a campaign rally.
Cheers erupted during Gingrich's 25-minute speech, during which he tried to appeal to everyone, saying he is running a campaign open to every American, no matter who they are.
Gingrich said that American rights should come from the Constitution and the creator, not Washington and that he wants to be known as the president of the pay check.
9 News spoke with more than a dozen of the restaurant's customers Monday night to get their take on presidential politics and where they expect their votes will be going next month and in November. Many say they're angry that so little has been done to solve the nation's problems.
"I think some of the candidates just want to get in," Jim Jobst of Bridgetown said. "I'm not so sure they're worried about the American people."
"I guess we're lacking anybody who has done anything about the problems we have. We don't see any action. We only hear words," said Margie Doll from the next table over.
They weren't alone in feeling that way. Debbie Whiteford and her husband, Edward, say they're stuck in between supporting either Newt Gingrich or front-runner Mitt Romney. Debbie works as a housekeeper, while her husband is disabled facing the challenge of diabetes and artery problems. They have no health insurance.
Debbie said she wants Gingrich and other candidates to start focusing on what she sees as the most important issue this year: jobs.
"Oh, I think definitely more jobs. We need more jobs," Debbie said. "There are too many people on unemployment."
The friends that Doll has dinner with every Monday at Price Hill Chili agree. For them creating more jobs and improving the economy are the top issues. Doll said she would tell Gingrich and other candidates, "Do something about the economy or do you think you can do anything about the economy, and especially rising gas prices."
Doll says that her children, who have their own families, are constantly shelling out more money from their budgets as the prices at the gas pump continue to rise in the Tri-State. Some gas stations were selling gas on Monday night for $3.55 for regular.
"And do you really care about jobs? We need somebody in there to care about us, our investments, our 401k accounts, jobs. People are just hurting," Jobst said.
The rising discontent many Tri-State voters are feeling is something many political analysts are also seeing. That includes Xavier University's Gene Beaupre.
"I think if there was a place on the ballot for none of the above, many people would hit that one," Beaupre said.
None of the people we spoke with Monday night say they would attend the Gingrich rally at Price Hill Chili, but all of them said they would be voting in the March 6 Ohio presidential primary.
9 News and WCPO.com will update more on Gingrich's visit to the Tri-State throughout the day.
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