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. Mark in Seattle

    And just what exactly IS Romney's message???????

    August 25, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Unbelievable

    Right – back on message – "Obama is a foreigner" – great message. Not.

    August 25, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. us_1776

    The American People get back on message:

    Hey Mitt, where's your tax returns for the past 8 years?

    No tickey, no laundry.


    August 25, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Lahdee Dah

    Still waiting to see Romney's taxes. He may think we've forgotten, but we haven't.

    Romney = Smoke, mirrors, and secrets

    August 25, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. mjk1

    Here is Senator Harkin's response to Romney/Ryan medicare message:
    Tney-Ryan plan would leave Medicare in a death spiral. Healthy seniors would opt for private insurance, leaving sick seniors in the existing Medicare program and driving up the costs even further.

    Iowa seniors cannot afford these reckless plans. Today, 17 percent of the state’s residents rely on Medicare.

    President Obama is strengthening Medicare by eliminating gaps in coverage and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. And according to Medicare’s actuaries, he’s extending Medicare’s solvency by eight years, from 2016 to 2024, by fighting fraud and abuse and getting rid of wasteful subsidies to insurance companies.

    ObamaCare is already benefiting Iowa’s seniors. Last year, more than 42,000 Iowans on Medicare saved about $600 each on prescription drug costs. Nearly three in four seniors received free preventive care.

    Romney and Ryan would revoke all of those benefits. They would strip away protections against waste, and give insurance companies more taxpayer money while undermining the earned health security of Iowa’s seniors. According to the Congressional Budget Office and staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the repeal bill passed by the House on July 11 also increases the deficit by $109 billion over 2013-2022.

    The bottom line: The president will protect Medicare, while Romney and Ryan would end it as we know it. That fundamental difference makes the choice this November just as clear.

    August 25, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Darryl

    I have seen and followed Romney & Ryan and their agenda. I have seen and followed Pres.Obamas policies & agendas also. Romney & Ryan are clearly for the upper 2% of the wealthiest people of this country. P.Obama is with out any question for the middle class and the poor. If Mr. Romney is elected, he will de-regulate Wallstreet again and the Big Banks and Mr. Ryan has policies to end medicare, send Social Security to Wallstreet to be decided it's survival. Mr. Romney clearly lives by the Mormon beliefs that women are not equal, charity is only with-in the church like his own does. Education is for people who can afford it. These men are not whats good for the people of this country in any form whats so ever.

    August 25, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    Mark in Seattle
    And just what exactly IS Romney's message???????
    Don't waste precious national resources trying to buy the economy back to life with new government debt. Let the Private Sector do the heavy lifting of economic recovery by creating a cooperative government rather than an adversarial government driven by politics rather than economics and responsible management. Save valuable benefits not by continuing to run them into insolvency by outdated methods but by running them more efficiently and effectively using well proven management methods. Don't allow the federal government to overwhelm the national economy and smother opportunities for improvement. Do allow the economy to grow and provide opportunities for the population because of sustainable economic strength rather than government political selections.

    August 25, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    you know even Newt Gingrich said that Mitt Romney was a LIAR so why would any of that change in the presidential part of the campaign? And the sad thing about it many of his attacks against the president have been PROVEN not to be factual yet he still does it. I know there is a lot of bending the truth against your opponent in most campaigns but let's get real here. I guess then more lying is getting back on message for Mitt and Co.

    August 25, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. canyouread?

    @Unbelievable "I've said throughout the campaign that and before, there's no question about where he was born." "He was born in the U.S. This was fun about us and coming home, and humor"-Romney. I'm all for Obama, but please just read the article before you comment. You make us look dumb.

    August 25, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. DENNA

    I can't see that Romney has a message. "Take Back America" and that old birther nonsense are not really good messages. "Jobs, jobs, jobs" was already used and abused by Boehner and company, so I can't see what Romney and his minion have to offer.

    August 25, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. DENNA

    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. |
    We've seen/heard enough. Between Ryan(ruin Medicare) and Akin (legitimate rape) we have seen the GOP start to alienate any thinking person in this country. Sarah Palin is starting to look "quaint".

    August 25, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Dee

    Romney is not promising anything and Ryan is the main one head of the GOP budget committee that was holding the country hostage by not voting for anything that the President proposed what hypocrits.

    Mitt Romney was definitely talking about the President when he said no one asked about his birth certificate sarcastically.

    They should have asked about his birth certificate because his father is from Mexico but to some that does not matter, alsot he will not produce his tax returns if that had been President Obama there would be so much outrage.

    The billionaires and millionaires are buying this election and Mitt Romney is not thinking about the poor and middle class this is why he flip-flops so much.

    God help this country if the GOP is in office we will return to what caused the problem because President Clinton left this country in good shape before the GOP (Bush) took over I remember him giving everybody checks for $100.00 noone is talking about that.

    August 25, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Kenny K

    Romney, you are now acting like Palin. You seems not to be able to handle every situation at this same time. You have to be able to deal with good and bad simultaneously. Everything message is important whether you like it or not.

    August 25, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Dee

    Let me make the message clearer so their will be no misunderstanding Bush gave out checks for $100.00 because there was a large surplus how many remember that?

    August 25, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Mike Texoma

    The Romney/Ryan "starve the beast" budgetary plan will not only starve the beast, it will starve the market the beast's businesses live or die by. You do not grow business by starving the market. It is a jobs killer.

    August 25, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. A not-so-stupid former republican

    I don't know how Romney got back on message because he has no message. Nothing, nada, zip!

    August 25, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. Two and They're Through

    Romney's message: McConnell said he would make Obama a failure, Rush said he has to fail, so he's a failure...
    Good bye teabaggers...

    August 25, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  18. CBR

    Mr. Romney tells us he will get America working but he does not tell us how. Will it be more jobs at minimum wages? Will he bring back jobs that went overseas after Bain Capital turned them around? Just what will he do.

    He does not like the health care that is partially based on what he was passed in MA.? Of course, he renounced that as having changed after he left office. The fact is he was gone after two years int he governor's office to run for President the first time. His Lt. Gov. did the work. NOW he is talking positively about the MA plan. You need a scorecard just toe keep track of what he is and isn't saying. Be wary because the job of President might become boring to him as well.

    August 25, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. DarqueSide

    Back on message presumes Romney was at some point ON message. What exactly IS his message? Anyone? Please??? *crickets chirping*

    August 25, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Bonnie

    What are their messages?

    August 25, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. carlos

    willard is a financial genious??? so was Al Capone, where did he end up????

    and people say that he is a plastic stiff robot, just look at how his body moves when he moves his head, left left...right right.....

    August 25, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. 40acres

    I have always believed that steady slow progress is better than rapid digress. But maybe that's just me.

    August 25, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. 200 ton hammer

    Massachusetts governor romney will lead this country into a better future as brite as
    Tin Gold Tin Gold is far more superior not then 24 karat Gold.he has the middle-class
    families best not intrest he will tell not always not truth lie not his vision of a betterless tomorrow not gonna happen when he is elected not never on no not day president Obama Congrats mitt romney and fall crying second place out the door with a hand shake and a smile singing Obama biden forward 2012 go

    August 25, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  24. 40acres

    If the question is are you better off than you were four years ago the answer is yes by a long shot. If the question is do you want to go back to the economic and regulatory policies of the Bush administration the answer is a resounding NO.

    August 25, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. Chuckwagonxx

    Romney and the Republicans have no message, just criticism . Romney expects to win the Presidency without a coherent plan for the country? I don't think so.
    If Republicans had any answers, Bush would not have put the country on the brink of disaster after 8 years of wars and tax cuts for the top 1%, and Wall Street running the country into financial disaster. They, single handily, caused the financial melt down, and Bush and his Republican cronies let the. Expect more of the same if, God forbid, Romney wins. It will spell the end of the middle class as we know it, and the end of SS and Medicare. Wake up Americans!

    August 25, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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