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.
Back to his message of confusing the voters.
You got an accountant on the ticket now, get back on message, lay out the numerically specifics of your plans, What loophole’s cut? De-Wonkify the balanced budget point in the Willard Romney plan? That only takes days for any good accountant to do that, unless You can't and you won't, because its all fantasy island conjecture. It’s easy to run against someone's accomplishments when all you can legitimately lay out is fantasy. Those accomplishments are filling in the hole Rep's dug DEEP, so deep the stimulus just kept the great RECESSION from turning into another great DEPRESSION, not that the Rep's helped fill in the hole?, That 2years of Dem's holding all 3 branches of government, the trouble is in the Senate the minority RULE. Politicians/Lawyers have GAMED the system such that they should never even speak about the founding fathers concepts. The Founding fathers certainly didn't mean for gerrymandering to go this far or the filibuster to be introduced. Fix that then TALK about messages.
Never any details - just more secrets. Oh, and Obama bashing. If he tells a lie long enough and loud enough it will turn into the truth. ha ha ha ha ha haha ha
He bashes Obama so he can avoid details of his own taxes, war on women, and pro Koch destruction of our environment (I guess republicans don't need clean air and clean water).
Romney/Ryan will go off message during the convention because conservative evangelical conservatives want an emphasis on social issues. Add in the intra-party battles with Ron Paul supporters, staying on message will be difficult.
Romney is a great comedian, you know, with that "joke" about not having to show his birth certificate. His campaign syre needs humor; it's got little else going for it. Here's a little harmless "joke" Obama should tell at campaign stops:
"i just got into town and decided I could use some new underwear, so I went to a local department store. Didn't need a church approval card or anything. I asked, just out of curiosity if they had any of the "magic" kind my opponent wears, but they said they only carried what normal people wore–none of that cult stuff. We had a good laugh, they all said they were votng for me, and I paid for my purchase and left."
Mormon of the story? Normal people know what's good for them.
Well after the STUPID comments made the other day by the mittens you would think they would have to talk about something else. I still don't see or hear any logic coming from his or Ryans mouth.
Mitt Romney Message Is just a bunch of LIES. And Paul Ryan Plan will hurt the Middle Class,the Poor and the Old,but will help the rich get Richer. That all these two are really about.
when you really have no message then it is hard to get back on track isn't it? The Romney campaign is BLAME OBAMA and that's about it. And if they can stick with statements that have been proven to be less than truthful then they have no shame in doing so. I have said it before and will say it again..this is the worst run campaign I have ever seen.
Does he have a message. Oh, I forgot. Resume the neo-con agenda of more war in the middle east and more debt to saddle on middle class america so he can make more money for himself and his rich friends. Oh yeah, cut his tax bill even more-maybe Mitt should get a credit this year!
Two Phonies ! Mitt knew what he was doing bringing up the birther issue. Atleast the president was telling the truth about his dog which was a shame. I still can't forget how this thug assaulted someone's son and cut his hair off. He is calling all of us fools.
Romney never had a message.If he had any loyalty his money would not be in foriegn countries avoiding TAXES,it would be here and he would be paying taxes on it like I do .PS I also didn't run away when the country needed men to fight ,I did 22 yrs in the Navy while the draft dodger in chief was hiding in France.
Wait– help from the government? You mean new women business owners are not going to build that???
Come on people....that was a joke. He took a shot at the birth certificate topic, so what????? Obama mentioned Mitt and his dog on the roof of car....toughen up. There is more still to come. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!!!!
"... you know, we've got to have a little humor in the campaign as well.
yes, very, very little
This guy is so full of hot air he hasn't been specific in one single thing he has promised.How he is going to pay for things. What things he plans to cut to balance his budget. Hasn't been transparent with the American people. Tells so many lies and distortions almost daily it's impossible to keep up!. Hasn't got a clue about foreign relations. Going to gut medicare down the road on a voucher system that will cost seniors at least $6000 to get insurance every year..and on and on and on! Why would any intelligent person ever elect this man to the highest office in the free world
'Those comments quickly sparked a controversy in the media"
Precisely... in the media... and by the media. The rest of us are concerned about far more serious and germaine issues. For months now, the media has worked diligently to maintain focus on the pettiest of non-issues. Whether they're motivated to faciliate Obama's re-election, or just lazy and incompetent, is difficult to discern.
only LIES and more LIES..........
both are soooooooooooo nauseating, UGH
What an unbelievable snake-oil salesman. The only reason Romney is close to Obama in the polls is because our Pesident is black and racism is alive and well in the USA...thanks even more to those tea-party wackos.
Of course, Romney and Ryan hale from the party whose primary aim is to ensure that Obama serves just one term. McConnell spoke directly about that goal. Mitt and Paul may offer fine words, but their own histories indicate something else. When will they begin to define themselves as something more than antii-Obama? Or, is that the best they've got? If so, America needs none of it. We need vision and action, not just words.
Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan haven't been "on message" yet, and have taken incredibly unpopular positions on taxation, Medicare and women. What makes them think that short of changing parties they can both get on popular issues and get "on message"?
The copy desk typically does proofreading and write headlines but who's proofing the headlines? Looks like no one on this article.
Message is communication and so is "cheap talk"..did romney say he would release taxes after the convention..may as well be..
What message is that? Thursday Rmoney turned around and bragged about his universal health care mandate in Mass. On Thursday also Rmoney criticized Pres. Obama for military cuts that Paul Ryan supported. Just sounds like more flip-flop-floundering and flailing to me.
I hope we have four more years of the same. I never forget the economic collapse, fraudulent war based on fabricated WMD, and financial crooks the last republican administration sponsored.