LIMA — When a national television news crew invited Tim DeHaven to talk politics Tuesday, the longtime Lima businessman jumped at the chance.
DeHaven discussed health care, jobs, taxes and political advertising with CBS News national correspondent Jim Axelrod for a report to air Wednesday. Axelrod, who was CBS’ chief White House correspondent from 2006 to 2009, said DeHaven will be one of three Ohio small-business owners featured in a report airing on Wednesday’s “CBS This Morning” show. Portions of the interview might make the CBS Evening News, too.
Semiretired but still the face and voice of DeHaven Home & Garden Showplace, DeHaven, 66, said he voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, but he’s leaning toward Republican challenger Mitt Romney this time. A Catholic and a Republican, DeHaven said he isn’t the only small-business man working under a cloud of uncertainty because of Obama’s unfulfilled promises.
“I feel his leadership has been poor,” DeHaven said of Obama. “A leader has to inspire, and he hasn’t inspired the public to move forward.”
“Are you finding Mitt Romney inspirational?” Axelrod asked.
“No, I’m not. That’s something that worries me,” DeHaven answered.
He said he believes Romney will be better for business, but he admitted he’s more against Obama than he is for Romney.
Does Obama have a chance of winning back DeHaven’s vote?
“He’s going to have to work a lot harder at getting people to work together,” he said. “I thought he would be a strong leader. He tends to have socialistic views, and I guess I didn’t understand he never really worked at a real job. I think it could’ve been good if maybe he’d come out and worked at the garden center for a while, had to deal with the public.”
With less than 100 days until the election, Axelrod said the network is just now gearing up for the fall campaign.
“Our obligation as a network is to cover the country,” Axelrod said. “It doesn’t help us to sit in New York or Los Angeles or Washington and try to figure out how people are feeling. You gotta go to the people.”
Ohio has been a crucial swing state in recent presidential elections, Axelrod said, and there’s no reason to believe 2012 will be any different.
“We’re going to be doing this from now till Election Day,” Axelrod said. “We’ll be in Ohio, we’ll be in Michigan, we’ll be in Florida, we’ll be in Pennsylvania — a lot of the states that will play crucial roles. This was just a first trip out.”
The interview came about when CBS News producer Arden Farhi emailed Jed Metzger, Lima-Allen County Chamber of Commerce president, on Saturday asking for a good candidate for an interview.
“We’re in search of a small business owner — anywhere in Ohio — who is also an undecided voter,” Farhi wrote.
Axelrod, an embedded journalist during the Iraq War, said it was a treat to interview DeHaven.
“A lot of it has to do with, where are we going to find people who can speak as honestly and eloquently as Tim,” he said. “This, to us, is journalistic gold. And it’s enlightening.”.