As far as politics goes, James Carville was a little out of place Wednesday night.
"Being a Democrat on this stage is like being a fire plug at a dog show," he said during a panel discussion at the Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania's 106th annual event.
Held at Penn State York's Pullo Center, the event attracted a nearly packed house and focused on what Carville knows best - politics.
The Democratic political consultant, who came to fame when he successfully led Bill Clinton's 1992 bid for the White House, said in his speech that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had been the Republican pick for his party's nomination for the presidency from the start.
Republicans don't go for long-shots; rather, they stick with the front runner, Carville said.
Elections: While Romney may have the nomination wrapped up, it doesn't mean he hasn't made mistakes.
Romney tries to pass himself off as a "regular guy" when he panders for votes, but he is anything but a regular man, Carville said.
"He's not the kind of guy you want to have a beer with. In fact, he's Mormon. He doesn't even drink coffee let alone beer," Carville said.
As far as the race for vice president, it is still up in the air who will be the Republican's choice. It's doubtful even Romney knows who will be his running mate.
"I was (Bill) Clinton's campaign manager and I didn't know who he was going to pick in April of 1992," Carville said.
While its more likely that Republicans will win back the Senate than it is that Democrats will take back the House, Carville said President Barack Obama is all but assured to be elected to a second term in November.
"It's going to be very hard for Romney to beat Obama," he said, unless some "big event" alters the election.
But in order for Obama to win, he must carry Pennsylvania. The Democrats can't lose Pennsylvania and expect to win the election, he said.
Panel: During the program, Carville was joined on stage for four area business leaders for a discussion, aptly named "Politics vs. the Economy.
They were Pete Brubaker, founder of Hammer Creek Enterprises; Donsco President Arthur Mann; Todd Kennedy, president of McClarin Plastics; and Penn Waste President and owner Scott Wagner.
Wagner spoke against federal and state regulations that overlap one another and hinder business.
"We're choking on regulations," he said. "We're being regulated to death."
Citing South Carolina, where tire giant Michelin is expanding one plant and building another, Wagner said Pennsylvania should become a right-to-work state, where employees aren't required to join a union if their work place is unionized.
Michelin also received $9.1 million in incentive grants from South Carolina, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Carville was quick to counter Wagner, saying South Carolina ranked 42nd in the nation with 8.9 percent unemployment in March compared to Pennsylvania, which ranked 28th with 7.5 percent unemployment.
"Pennsylvania shouldn't aspire to be South Carolina," he said.
Jobs: One problem facing local manufacturing businesses is the difficulty hiring younger, skilled workers.
To some, the jobs are "old, dark and dingy," and employers need to find a way to "sex it up a bit," Kennedy said.
Carville was amazed at that. The jobs pay well and he said he hopes younger generations don't view the jobs like that. A number of areas in the country would enjoy the manufacturing base that this area has, he said.
"We need you as a spokesman. Because I agree with you ... on that subject," Kennedy said.
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