NORTH CANTON, Ohio -- Like much of the rest of the country, California is on a downward trajectory, beset by high taxes and fleeing businesses and squandering its precious resources. That’s according to many politicians, but also to Patricia Heaton, the actress best known for her role as Ray Romano’s wife, Debra, on "Everybody Loves Raymond," and the ABC sitcom "The Middle."
Appearing at a rally Friday for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, Heaton stepped out into the frigid fall air in an orange down jacket and introduced Ryan.
"I get the pleasure of introducing our next vice president,” she said. “I have to tell you, backstage I didn't recognize him with his shirt on. And I did wear orange not only because I'm a Browns fan, but I was afraid Paul would have his shotgun. I just wanted to make sure he knew I was here and where I was standing. Didn't want to get any buckshot."
Heaton, who is from Cleveland, made a few jokes about the Cleveland Browns and about her large Catholic family, which is “giving those Mormons a run for their money.” Her father was a sports writer for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in nearby Canton.
Heaton was happy to be back in Ohio, she said.
“I live out in California, it’s a beautiful state with a lot of beautiful resources and wonderful people but it’s being run into the ground,” she said. “The taxes are out of control in California, the jobs are going down, businesses are fleeing, and that’s happening all around the country as you know.”
Heaton cited the nation’s debt, the high unemployment rates and the number of Americans on welfare, telling the crowd, “It doesn’t have to be that way.”
“On Nov. 6 we have an opportunity to vote for someone who has been a successful job creator in the private sector,” she said. “We have an opportunity to vote for someone who, as governor, brought both parties together and turned a deficit into a surplus and balanced the budget. We have an opportunity to vote for a team who believes in the greatness of this country, who believes that everybody should have a shot at the American dream and who will set politics aside to do what is right for the American people.”
Heaton is one of very few conservatives in Hollywood, a place Democrats have long turned for fundraising opportunities. Other conservatives include Kelsey Grammer, Clint Eastwood and Scott Baio.