ROCHESTER, New Hampshire – Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Wednesday hit the campaign trail running in the first Republican primary state in the nation, a day after announcing his bid for the White House.
The 37-year-old entrepreneur started Wednesday meeting and greeting Granite Staters at a packed Potter’s Bakery in Rochester. Ramaswamy, sporting a charcoal gray suit and white shirt, spent about an hour chatting with voters. Just hours earlier, he launched his campaign announcement video, in which he stated that America is suffering from a “national identity crisis” and that the country needs a revival of “American exceptionalism”:
Darlene Towle of Rochester came away “impressed” after interacting with the candidate several times at the intimate coffee shop. Though she had not heard his stance on all of the issues, she agreed with much of his rhetoric.
“He just wants to have a conversation with people and an exchange of ideas, even if you don’t agree with him,” she told Breitbart News. “I think that’s what is being taken away from us right now. We’re shutting people down and disinviting them to come to speak to us because we think their words are going to hurt us in some way–not me, but our younger generation.”
Towle said she likes Ramaswamy’s posture that Republicans “need to be talking about the how and the ‘what,’ instead of the ‘who’” at this point in the campaign. “The ‘who’ doesn’t matter as much right now as defining the Republican party and defining who we are as Americans and who we are as a party before we decide who is going to represent us.”
Ramaswamy, a highly successful biotech CEO and the son of Indian immigrants, made an appearance on Fox Business Channel’s Varney & Co live from the bakery. When he told the program he was against identity politics, the coffee shop erupted in agreement.
On the way out, the donuts at the counter caught Ramswamy’s eye. After a quick purchase, he was off for a tour of Rochester City Hall with Mayor Paul Callaghan and Public Information Manager Matt Wyatt:
Wyatt led Ramaswamy and members of his campaign to the Rochester Opera House upstairs, which has served as a speaking venue for many presidential candidates going back decades. Wyatt noted he had seen images of late President Ronald Reagan addressing voters from the stage.
The room’s antiquity seemed to capture Ramaswamy. An aesthetic of hardwood floors, wooden balconies, and a dazzling chandelier accompany a modern sound system and floor jacks that have been used to fashion the room into a basketball court, according to Wyatt.
On his way out of City Hall, the candidate was drawn to the Missing Man Table in the lobby, which honors America’s servicemembers who went missing in action.
As he took in the tribute, Ramaswamy remarked that it was “visually striking” and “set up in a dignified way”:
Callaghan then led the campaign and reporters about a block away to the family-owned business Hervey’s Tire. Ramaswamy was greeted by one of the owners, Steve Hervey, who told the candidate he made an impression on his wife during his appearance on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight Tuesday evening.
“Yeah, she was telling me about you, and I said, ‘He’s coming here tomorrow,’” Steve recalled, drawing laughs and a big smile from Ramaswamy. “She said you gotta see this guy.”
Ramaswamy made his way into the garage, past tools and car parts, before meeting a worker and engaging Steve’s brother Allen Hervey in a conversation:
“I’m thinking we need more workers,” Allen told Ramaswamy as they stood before a jacked-up car. He added that there should be more incentives to drive young workers into blue-collar jobs.
Ramaswamy cited the trope that one needs a college degree to gain “respect” as part of the problem, as well as the federal government “flooding the system, frankly, with artificial money in the course of the last few years.”
“It’s not just all about economics,” he later added. “It becomes a habit. Once people are used to not working as their way of life, you lose that sense of purpose that you derive from work, so I think that’s a big part of our focus, too: is making sure we don’t create disincentives to work in this country.”
Ramaswamy adopted a solemn tone and offered his condolences to the brothers in a more private interaction before leaving, as their father had passed away last week.
The campaign then headed to Prep Partners Group, a third-party warehouse and distribution business “that supplies to multiple clients, diverse clientele,” its cofounder and COO, Brian Healey, told Breitbart News. He noted the company does “E-commerce business, business to business consumer business, a lot of packaging shipping, hand kitting for some local businesses but also for some international businesses.”
Ramaswamy spoke with Healey; another cofounder, Kevin O’Keefe; and Callaghan about his vision to “revive” the “basic ideas” of “excellence, merit, freedom,” and “democratic self-governance” in the United States.
“If we revive those things, good things are going to happen in our country, and we can actually take on the external threats that we’re going to face, China at the top of that list,” he said.
“There’s not going to be somebody coming from on high to save us; we’re going to have to save ourselves. I’m bluntly asking everybody here we met today for help in that journey, not help for my candidacy; that’s the least of it,” Ramaswamy added. “Help for the vision, in advancing the vision, revitalizing our sense of American pride. If we revitalize that pride – it sounds like a soft thing – but actually, the policy stuff becomes a lot easier if we know who we really are.”
The group then toured the sprawling 150,000-square-foot facility, which was just built last year, with thousands of pallets of goods waiting to be shipped at a moment’s notice. The group is already looking to expand:
“You get pride from it,” said Vice President of Operations Neil Mahoney on the success of Prep Partners Group.
“Yes!” Ramaswamy agreed with excitement. “You get pride from it. You get identity from it.”
When the Biotech mogul and Strive Asset manager asked what a revitalized America would look like to him, Healey said a reinvigorated workforce – a similar sentiment to Allen Hervey’s earlier in the day.
A roundtable lunch at City Hall with Callaghan, business and nonprofit leaders, and other local officials followed the stop at the warehouse. From there, it was off to Manchester, where Ramswamy held a town hall-style event at Murphy’s Tap Room after a quick bite to eat at the Red Arrow, a staple stop for a candidate stumping in the Granite State:
Downstairs in Murphy’s Tap Room, the candidate took the stage with some 50-60 people in attendance, fielding questions on a variety of issues as a snowstorm made its way through the Live Free or Die State.
Ramaswamy shared his belief that the “defining political struggle of our time” is the “Great Reset versus the Great Uprising.”
“The Great Reset has a world view. The worldview is to dissolve boundaries,” the candidate told spectators. “Dissolve boundaries between the public and private sector, dissolve boundaries between nations so that leaders of these nations with centrally banked digital currencies can work together to dictate ‘how we solve the common global good’”:
“In response to that vision … we have what I call the Great Uprising, which says, ‘Hell no’ to that vision. If I had to pick, I’m part of the Great Uprising and not the Great Reset,” he asserted. “But where this ends is that the Great Uprising tears it all down. We’re done with the existing institutions, and we just rebuild anew.”
“But I think there’s a better way still left. We can still sterilize the castle,” continued Ramaswamy. “We can still separate those boundaries between nations, between the public sector and private sector, restore every institution and what it was supposed to stand for, be it a company, be it a university, be it the government. I still think we have a window to do that and get it right.”
He emphasized, “I believe I can be the person for you that actually restores those institutions back to what they were supposed to be, starting with the federal government and rejecting the demands of the three-letter acronomizing global government from the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) to the U.N. (United Nations) to the mountain tops of Davos or the WEF (World Economic Forum). I say absolutely not to that vision.”
After fielding questions for nearly an hour or so, Ramaswamy met with voters, taking pictures and signing autographs as the event came to a close. A blanket of snow awaited Ramawswamy and his team on the streets of Manchester following the action-packed day as they headed off to Iowa to campaign on Thursday.