Romney-Ryan rally aims to get back campaign back on message
August 25th, 2012
12:33 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney-Ryan rally aims to get back campaign back on message

Powell, Ohio (CNN) - With two days to go until the start of the Republican convention, and following a week of distractions, Mitt Romney tried to get the focus back on the economy and President Barack Obama as he teamed up with running mate Paul Ryan at a campaign event Saturday in the crucial battleground state of Ohio.

In front of a crowd that numbered in the thousands, the GOP challenger took the attack to the president, saying that Obama has not lived up to his promises.

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"I know the president's going to go to that convention. He's going to have all sorts of marvelous things to say. I mean, I could almost read his speech now. … It'll just be, it'll be filled with promises to tell people how wonderful things are. Of course, they'll have to contrast that with what they know they're experiencing," Romney said.

"But as he lays out all of these wonderful things he's going to do, people are just going to stop and say, but how are you going to do something different than last time? They've experienced the last four years; they know if they re-elect him, they'll get four more years of the same. It is not his words that people have to listen to - it is his action and his record, and if they look at that, they'll take him out of the office and put people into the office that will actually get America going again."

The morning rally in Powell, just north of Columbus, followed a week where the Romney campaign veered off-message, first by the controversial comments on rape and abortion from Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, and then by Romney's comments at a rally Friday in Michigan, when touting his roots there, he said, "Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital, I was born at Harper Hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."

Those comments quickly sparked a controversy in the media and overshadowed the rest of the Michigan campaign event. A fringe of conservative Republicans continue to believe that Obama was not born in the United States. Those believers are referred to as "birthers."

In an interview hours later, Romney denied his reference to a birth certificate was anything more than simply homecoming humor.

"No, no, not a swipe," Romney said in a CBS interview, referring to Obama and the conspiracy theories about his birth. "I've said throughout the campaign that and before, there's no question about where he was born."

Romney continued, "He was born in the U.S. This was fun about us and coming home, and humor - you know, we've got to have a little humor in the campaign as well."

There was no mention of the controversy at Saturday's rally, other than the sight of a plane flying high above the event site with a sign that read, "American is better then birtherism"

The Akin comments on rape put the abortion issue back in the spotlight, which probably won't help the GOP ticket as it tries to make up a deficit with women voters. That may be one reason why the former Massachusetts governor included some lines not normally used in his stump speech.

"Just a word to the women entrepreneurs out there. If we become, if we become president and vice president, we want to speak to you, we want to help you. Women in this country are more likely to start businesses than men. Women need our help," Romney said.

Ryan introduced Romney to the audience, and during his comments he also directed his firepower at Obama.

"The president came into office promising to lower the unemployment rate. 'It would never get above 8% if we just pass this stimulus legislation.' It's been above 8% for 42 months. The unemployment rate in Massachusetts went down under Mitt Romney's leadership," said Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin.

Outside the rally site, about 20 to 25 protesters held signs and chanted, "Hands off Medicare" and "Ryan go home," in reference to the House Budget Committee chairman's controversial proposals to alter Medicare.

The popular government health insurance program for retirees was on the minds of those attending the rally, as was the economy.

"The economy and Medicare. It's both. The economy is going down hill. If we don't something, we're in big trouble," said Belva Call, a Florida retiree who still spends half her year in her native Columbus.

"The most important thing on my mind is the economy, the debt we're running up under Obama," said Dennis Irvin of Worthington, Ohio.

"A lot of people have based their retirement around the assurance of Medicare, that it will continue to exist. The fact is it won't continue to exist for a very long time unless we do something serious to reform them, and I believe Paul Ryan has the answer to how to do that."

Ohio is crucial to both campaigns, and Ryan played up his Midwestern roots, saying "It's good to be back here in Big Ten country."

Two surveys out Thursday indicated the Buckeye State remains a hotly contested battleground. According to the Ohio Poll by the University of Cincinnati, 49% of likely voters supported the president, with 46% backing Romney, basically a dead heat. A Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times survey also released Thursday indicated Obama with a 50%-44% lead over Romney.

The Saturday stop in Powell brings to eight the number of trips Romney's made to Ohio since the start of the general election in April. Obama has been to the state seven times since then, with his last visit on Tuesday in Columbus.

Ohio's 18 electoral votes are expected to be pivotal to the 2012 presidential election. President George W. Bush sealed his 2004 re-election by narrowly winning the state over the Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry. In 2008, Obama took the state by 5 percentage points over Sen. John McCain. But the GOP won big in the state in the 2010 midterm elections, taking back the governor's office and five House seats held by Democrats.

One other note: Romney was introduced by Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, to the song "Footloose," apparently the first time the 1980s hit was played at a Romney rally.

And Kasich was ribbed by Romney and Ryan for the bright green golf shirt that he was wearing.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Ohio • Paul Ryan • President Obama
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Kim

    So, then, alexithymic Mitt has no more birther/racist "red meat" to throw out there for today? Or has he lost his sense of "humor", after yesterday?

    August 25, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Pete

    Romney went off course again,he just never was on course to begin with.He and Ryan can't be concrete on anything,even a Romney advisor on Bill Maher show couldn't be concrete or specific on any of Romneys plans either.The blind leading the blind if ya ask me and they're ready for debates,how stupid but its their arrogence that'll get them in trouble,just watch!!

    August 25, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. labman57

    The only sector of the electorate that will be excited about the Romney/Ryan ticket are those who were not going to vote for Obama anyway, i.e., middle-aged white male Christian conservatives. At the same time, Romney's choice of running mate will very likely farther alienate two key demographic groups - women and the elderly.

    By selecting Ryan as his running mate, Romney has embraced the notion that the ultra-wealthy 1%er tail wags the GOP dog ... and the middle class should get stuck with cleaning up the lawn.

    Romney/Ryan 2012 campaign slogan: "Survival of the Richest"

    August 25, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. quarlesc

    Are you kidding me??? THe R/R campaign has never been MORE on message, and you guy's can't STAND it!

    August 25, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. quarlesc

    Are you KIDDING ME? The R/R campaign has never been more ON MESSAGE, and you in the liberal-rag media can't stand it, because it is going to dethrone your guy.... you ain't seen nothing yet, folks.

    August 25, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Paulcat

    Well, we said we were going to be the party of NO from day one where he couldn't get anything done.
    Now we can campaign on just that. You people will fall for anything. Just trust me.
    Sign: Mitt

    August 25, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Bren

    Wow, I did not realize that Obama only won Ohio by (5) points!!! The majority of voters are definitely awake this election!! And, with the momentum that Romney/Ryan are gaining......And, the facts that Ohio voted straight Republican in 2010-–and Obama only won Ohio by (5) in 2008........Ohio is definitely going to be moving to the "leans Romney" column very soon. And,--Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina and Virginia-–should already be in the "leans Romney" columns as well.

    August 25, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. luke,az

    Romney/Ryan the Vulture/Voucher guys have lost control of the narrative. Hurricane Todd is bearing down on Tampa. They need to determine if this hurricane is legitimate or not so that they can shut that whole thing down.

    August 25, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Griff.

    "Too many backs kill the front!"

    August 25, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Ha ha ha. What a joke! Romney cemented his own grave next to Hoffa's in a freeway ramp column along the Nowhere river in the town of Neverelect. The only people who will vote for Willard and little 666 Eddie Munster (no offense Eddie, you were a good actor on TV, but Ryan looks a lot like you with his evil red eyes and dark circles underneath due to years of trying to create ways to wipe out the poor next to an oil lamp in his dungeon) the Anti-Christ, is the Tea Party the Koch family and Romney’s loser coward sons who have followed in the running scared footsteps of their chicken, yellow-bellied, combat evading father, who hid in France under the Mormon Draft Dodger Protection Program during Vietnam while REAL American men fought and died for America.

    August 25, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    There is no message from Romney, all you need to know is the "Paul Ryan Budget Plan" is the only plan for the future otherwise Ryan wouldn't be in the VP spot. Romney needs to be honest with the American people instead of considering us to be no more than the result of collateral damage at the hands of the wealthiest.

    August 25, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. What's new?

    Let's get back on topic: SHOW US YOUR TAXES!

    August 25, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. ColoradoJoe

    he promised 250K/month of US jobs. Has he said HOW he plans on doing this?

    August 25, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |

    Wasnt Ryan just selected weeks ago as VP?
    And they already have to get BACK on message?

    This ticket doesnt seem to focused.
    Theyve flip-flopped on their own message,
    theyve contradicted each others message,
    theyve had to walk back things the were "for, before they were against".
    Ryan has close ties to Akin (wrote a bill with him)
    And Mitt still hasnt released his taxes.

    Boy.. these guys are mess. I wish theyd get out of Obama's way so he could help fix the country already.

    August 25, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. mommytwice

    Given these two clowns and their records, how will they do anything different than the last Republican president? We all know how well that went, and I for one have NO desire to EVER repeat that. So, no thanks, Mr. Romney, I'm sticking with Obama.

    August 25, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Bootstomper

    Al white all the tiime the modern GOP?

    August 25, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. NVa Native

    tax returns, legitamate rape, ending medicare & social security – did that help?
    Oh yea, almost forgot – a place for bigts to feel "ok". Done.

    August 25, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. IDontBelieveIt

    Romney / Ryan 2012

    August 25, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. Marry

    Why in the world would an intelligent voter replace a President that has shown class, intelligence, care, strength, fine character and concern for the people who keeps working hard and diligent despite GOP/TP sabotage with a flip-flopping, tax- evading, undiplomatic, war-mongering, secretive, misleading, bad-mouthing, no nothing about the struggles of people, unethical, vulture capitalist that sells the country to the highest bidder? Right, no one with a functioning brain and believe in the future of the US would vote ever again for the GOP/TP or their lazy, money crazy puppets!

    August 25, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. jaimie

    Romney and Ryan......... Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century

    August 25, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. cali girl

    What is the message? We do know a few of them that they will not talk about. War on women, ladies just forget about having control over your own bodies needs. Then there is medicare, brougt to you by Ryan himself. Kill medicare is the slogan. Nothing about the economy, still no tax returns, nothing on aca, veterens, immigrants and minorities. Seniors, poor people you are out of luck too

    August 25, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. CBR

    His Republican friends in Congress sat on their hands and refused to work together with Democrats. Now the results are showing up all over the place. Just ask any farmer in the Midwest if he/she is receiving assistance during this drought. The answer is no because the FARM BILL has not been passed.

    Paul Ryan is part of that Congress. Mitt Romney did not push his friends. If you sit on your hands you will not help Mr. Obama. How wonderful this all is for the American people!!!

    August 25, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Four and The Door

    Outside the rally site, about 20 to 25 protesters held signs and chanted, "Hands off Medicare" and "Ryan go home," in reference to the House Budget Committee chairman's controversial proposals to alter Medicare.
    People still don't understand that the only thing different about Ryan's proposal is that seniors would have the option of going with a 2nd plan for Medicare, one that is similar to what Congressmen now get. If they want to stay with the current Medicare System which pays providers the same for good or bad care, they can stick with it. But if they do that, apparently they don't care any more about the quality of care than Obama does...

    August 25, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. Alex

    I don't understand how?

    To me how tax cutting with increasing Defence expense, removing financial regulation will improve economy?
    This is the same trickle down economics that was tried under George Bush II – brought us from surplus to deficit.
    George Bush decrease taxes, Increase Defence spending went to unnecessary war.
    There was talk of attacking Iran at end of Bush term.
    I will not be surprised you will also start talking about war as you want to keep defence spending high.

    This didn't happen under George Bush but also under Reagan and George Bush Sr. Look historical deficit for last 20 years and it happened only under Republican Presidents with Trickle Down Economics

    We need to have taxes to balance the budget at the same time we need to cut defence
    Also healthcare we cannot go to private without we agree to right to die and abortion if you cannot afford to pay for medical costs without burdening children, wife and society. You do double talk – one side – no right to die and abortion while on other side pay from pocket/private health care

    August 25, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. doregroj

    I think we can only judge politicians by what they do and not what they say. Politicians cannot say what is exactly on their minds because if they do, whether Republican or Democrat, they will not get elected. That is just a fact. It doesnt mean the politician is a good or bad person. Having said that, we can only judge President Obama on his record. The question, once asked by Ronald Reagan, refering to Jimmy Carter's disastrous 4 years as President is. Are we better off since President Obama took power 4 years ago. The answer will determine who will be our next President.

    August 25, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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