Lancaster, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Speaking in Republican stronghold Lancaster County Tuesday, the GOP’s likely presidential nominee Mitt Romney crystallized what’s at stake if his party loses the critical battleground state in November.
“We need to make sure we win Pennsylvania. If we win Pennsylvania, we’ll take back the White House,” Romney told a packed ballroom Tuesday night at the Republican Committee of Lancaster County’s spring event.
Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN
That’s a tall order, since it’s been more than two decades since Republican nominee George H.W. Bush won the state in 1988.
The race for the White House shifted dramatically a week ago when former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum suspended his campaign in Gettysburg. That allowed the Romney campaign to take a few steps back, focus less on its remaining Republican opponents and begin to lay the groundwork for a competitive general election battle for Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.
Romney, a businessman who served one term as governor of Massachusetts, criticized President Barack Obama for his record on creating jobs, particularly among women. That topic became a hot-button issue on the campaign trail after a Democratic operative and CNN contributor suggested his wife Ann was economically out of touch because she stayed at home to raise children.
"Did you know, by the way, that of the jobs lost during the Barack Obama presidency, 93% were women who lost those jobs?" Romney asked, repeating a statistic he's used frequently on the trail. "And the president said, 'Oh that’s because in the Bush years men tended to lose their jobs.' It’s like well, okay that may be true, but this president has prolonged the recovery, made it more difficult for us to come out of the recession and as a result the job losses have continued and women have borne the brunt."
While Romney's claim is true, it lacks important context. Of American jobs lost between January 2009 and March 2012, 92.3% were lost by women. But the statistic does not reflect that men constituted a much larger chunk of the job loss pie in the year leading up to Obama’s inauguration. Romney’s claim also does not reflect that job loss for women began in March 2008, almost a full year before Obama took office.
In addition to competing against Obama, his eventual general election opponent, Romney still has to contend with Republican Newt Gingrich, who also spoke at the Lancaster GOP dinner and has vowed to stay in the race until the convention in late August.
The former House speaker, who lived in nearby Harrisburg when he was young, made the pitch for party loyalists to vote for him next week while still urging voters to support the eventual nominee.
Gingrich said, “I came tonight in part to challenge you to take seriously carrying the state of Pennsylvania for this fall, because the objective fact is if we carry Pennsylvania, it is impossible for Barack Obama to win the presidency.”
Sensibly, no one cares about Romney of Gingrich. Which is why no one has bothered to comment
Romney has enough money to take back the White House, but he will never own it !
A man who's five sons avoided military service won't carry Pennsylvania !
flip flopper, did you know, BTW that your war against women and blaming the President is not working. Try something else. While we are at these are some of your teapublikan taliban record AGAINST those women who are not dignified, just like your wife, who has never held a real job. These are ALL NEW LAWS thanks to the party of hell we love women!!
AZ – women have to tell their employees why they need medical coverage for contraception if it's not for medical reasons; doctors will not face legal consequences if they don't tell the parents that their child might have medical conditions and that they might want to abort the child.
MS – (only good for counting seconds when a watch is not at hand) – abortion is a criminal act punishable by law.
PA – what the $%^& – sonogram before abortion. Must have heard that went so well in VA.
VA – insasive internal probe (is that better cnn?) and sonogram before abortion except that they decided that a no need internal probe on a pregnant women might not be such a good idea what with the confederate governor vying for the vp position.
TX – no more money for Planned Parenthood.
KS – not a crime to beat your wife
WI – wages for women should be less than a man's because a man has to raise a family and he needs more money than a woman. Grotham was the instigator of this ridiculous rule.
It is amazing to me that people are willing to vote for a party (Republicans) that have not lifted a finger to try and do anything to help us out of the mess that was left by the Bush adim. what record can they run on for the last 4 years that they can say help improve things???? The only thing they have done was try to stop everything they could in hopes that it would/will make they POTUS look as if he does not know what he is doing. If people fall for that then good luck with the fake guy they are trying to sell you....I rather vote for some1 that has tried his hardest to help the American people than a party that can careless and have used the "We will wait until we get our own party in there to do anything" approach... Yep thats America 1st for you...smh
I think that Romney, if he is the nominee, isn't going to win PA because there are too many people who see problems in his statements now and from when he ran for other offices.
Romney is correct. The President has made things much worse for the economy.
Mitt-math never adds up right. There is a reason Mitt ignores context and edits his endorsements. Mitt is as honest as a used car salesman.
I hope the people of pensylvania, which is a manufactoring haven, is ready for deregulations and tax break for the rich. They saw what happen when bush did this back in the early 2000s. They saw their manufacturing base moved to China in droves. Now they are trickling back to our shores. I wonder when mitten deplete our spenders of their spending money, and give it to the corporations, I wonder if big corporations will invest in our country more, when they see that folks stop buying from their companies that already up and going, or thy will turn their eyes to China and India who have 1/6 the spenders that American has.