By MARY ANN GREIER
SALEM - Local residents and Lordstown workers may notice a familiar face in President Obama's latest campaign commercial- Salem area resident George Klass.
He's the guy in the green shirt in the "Made in Ohio" ad which talks about the auto industry rescue and how Mitt Romney spoke out against the government bailout.
"Mitt Romney would have let us go under - just let them go...bankrupt," Klass said in the commercial, also commenting on air, "How you can say something like that is beyond me."
Klass has lived in Perry Township just outside the city limits for 19 years and has worked 35 years for General Motors at the Lordstown plant, where he's a training rep. He said a group of people was asked about doing a commerical and his name was in the mix. He did a phone interview with someone and was selected to do the video.
"I lucked out and I'm very proud and honored to be part of it," he said when contacted by phone.
At first, he said he was a little intimidated, but the process was fun and he was glad he did it. Klass said there was no script. The words aired in the commercial were his words. He was asked general questions by the people during filming and "we just sort of talked."
He considered doing the commercial a privilege and said people have already approached him about seeing him on television. He said everyone has been positive about his appearance, even people from the other side.
"Not many people get the opportunity to show their support for the President of the United States in this manner," he said.
A member of U.A.W. Local 1112, Klass said he supports the president and what he did to help him as a member of the auto industry.
"He had our back when times were tough, now it's time for us to have his back," Klass said when asked why he agreed to do the commercial.
He actually met President Obama in 2009 when he visited the Lordstown assembly plant, shook his hand and talked with him. He said he gained a lot of respect for him that day because of the respect he showed to them.
"He's the type of guy when you're talking to him, he looks directly in your face," Klass said.
When asked what they talked about, he said it was just general conversation. He didn't think he would be affected the way he was, admitting he started to sweat a little and was nervous, but the president walked right up to them and looked right at them while they talked.
"We may not have been here if he hadn't stepped up to the plate...it would have affected everything," he said.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org