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Republican presidential candidate Mitt ...
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, accompanied by U.S. Senate candidate George Allen, left, talks with Bill's Barbecue owner Rhoda Elliott, in red, back to camera, during a visit to the closed restaurant Wednesday.
The Romney campaign ad, which features former Bill's
owner and Republican supporter Rhoda Elliott
, implies that Obama's economic policies were at least in part to blame.
After a morning rally in Roanoke, Romney made an unannounced stop at a shuttered Bill's
location on the Boulevard en route to the rally in Doswell and chatted with Elliott
and several family members.
"So what happened?
"Things just got rougher and rougher," Elliott
told him, blaming taxes, regulations and the president's health care overhaul for the difficult decision to close up shop.
Typically in a poor economy, people eat at less expensive restaurants, but during the recession, they seemed to go a step below Bill's
"We usually fare pretty good," she
said of the economic downturn.
Romney brought up the topic of Bill's
Barbecue during his
speech at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, recounting his
chat with Elliott
Romney shared Elliott's comments that the business had been burdened by taxes, federal regulation and "Obamacare."
"Those three things are crushing small businesses across America," he
said, pledging not to raise taxes on small businesses or on the middle class.
Romney reported that Elliott
said under the health care reform law "the cost per employee was just backbreaking."
Mike Barbour and Rhoda ...
Mike Barbour and Rhoda Elliott, president of Bill's Barbecue, talk about the sale of dozens of lapel pins with the chain's logo that a customer...
When Rhoda Elliott
showed at the Bill's Barbecue
at 937 Myers St. at 6 a.m. today, a line had already formed around the restaurant's building.
"It was controlled chaos," Elliott
said about the opening hours of the memorabilia sale.
But today has been a hard emotional one for Elliott, the niece of the company's founder who had worked at Bill's Barbecue for 35 years and was appointed president in the early 1990s.
"It's like selling off your kids," she
Patrick Henry Supper Club
Rhoda Elliott, president of Bill's Barbecue Inc., opposes the tax increase.
"You are picking on one industry.That's my problem with this," Elliott
said in an interview: "They turn to us every time they need easy money." Elliott is also the government relations chairman for the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association, which has gone on record against the tax increase.
Rhoda Elliott, Chairman
...Rhoda Elliott, Chairman
Increased competition, a dwindling ...
Increased competition, a dwindling customer base and rising costs forced Billâ€™s Barbecue president Rhoda Elliott to make the most difficult decision of her life.