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.
What a train crash the Romney/Ryan ticket is... with all you have to say now is berher's comments, that will really rally up the Tea/base and not much more... just like the V-pres bump they got... crickets, crickets, crickets....
Mark in Seattle
And just what exactly IS Romney's message???????
Well, one day ago Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan did give an interview in which he says that he personally believes that rape is just another "method of conception". I don't suppose that this is what CNN considers "getting back on message" ... but, hey, just thought I'd throw it out there for others to contemplate as noteworthy.
Of course, as it stands in recent polling, Republican women - men too - probably won't care overmuch how their elected top political officials think on such subjects as deep as rape and all it's horror. I realize these aren't issues most Republicans care about ... not related closely enough to their pocket-book trinket spending sprees, I guess.
It is a sad day...very, very sad day... in America when a Romney/Ryan ticket is actually considered a viable ticket, and polls as close to the current President as it does.
"Those comments quickly sparked a controversy in the media " Pfft, should have read "the media quickly sparked a crontroversy"
More much ado about nothing from the stupid left-wing.
LOL. Poor Willard. He reminds me of the rich kid who always cried he wanted his ball so he could go home when nobody chose him to a team.
Read what he said about small business not having enough lawyers to obtain off shore tax dodges. He is so full of it.
just for the record. and this is public record. easily verifiable and a fact. Bush outspent Obama in deficit spending 5-1. From 2001 to 2009, Bush's policies, including two wars, higher Pentagon spending in addition to those wars, tax cuts, higher discretionary spending and the prescription drug program contributed $5.1 trillion to the nation's debt. From 2009 to 2017 (using projections for 2011-2017), Obama's policies have added or will add $983 billion. Not even in the same ballpark. these are facts. Thank you to Ezra Klein for the facts.
I thought he was on message, racism, bigotry and hate is all the GOP knows, and its the only message they have.
Obama is never going to be on Mount Rushmore, but I think he really wants to help the poor, and middle class. Mitts & Ryan are down right scary.
Romney's message is simple – Obama is bad so I'm better. Want more details – you'll just have to trust him on everything except where he was born. Some may , I don't
George Carlin said; "just think how stupid the average American is and then remember that means that 50% are even dumber than that". Look at this election, almost 50% of Americans have been persuaded by FUX, and Limbag to vote for Robney even if it means cutting their own throats. A Robney presidency will mean the end to SSI, Medicare, Medicaid, and Public Education as we know it. More tax cuts for the 2% while the 98% get the bill. George most have been talking about 2012 when he made that quote.
Yes... his message is to give more tax breaks to the rich, while what's left of the middle class gets the leftovers... the scraps.
The only message he's given us so far is that he's obsessed with his anger at President Obama-to the point of saying anything negative about the President that pops into his head whether's thee's any basis for it or not. Romney had just as well come right out and say "Mr. Obama's the President and I'm not so I'm going to keep throwing tantrums AKA Narcissistic Rage."
That draft dodging, tax evading, rude, flip flopping liar had better not become president. Trickle down does not work. The 1% will just stash the extra cash in a foreign country. Which reminds me, we need to see your taxes, Mutt.
He sounds like a used car salesman.... "and over here we have this country that is presently being rebuilt, but it going to cost you billions to get it"
What is Mitt hiding? The Poor. Now you see them under Obama/Biden's vision, now you don't under the Romney/Ryan vision. Hocus Pocus and poof, they don't exist. Ha Ha Ha Mitt you are too funny just joking.
Romney does not even lie well anymore, it's a birther comment unless half of the 350 million people out there are ilterates. and sure it's the same old Repubs, and yes I remember the Iraq war..false that was what 2 Trillion dollars, the banking debacle and un regulated housing and securties markets that sunk the global economy in the first place, Bush should be put on trial for war crimes, several other presidents and dictators have...
Neither of the candidates knows how to fix the economy. We're screwed.
So Belva Call is a retiree rich enough to afford two homes, and she thinks the economy will be in trouble? Sounds like she'll be just fine.
Things ARE wonderful. At least compared to the mess the GOP left us in. And it would be even better if the GOP spent more time working for the country instead of trying to make Obama look bad by blocking everything.
What is there message? is it...I want to win? Please vote for me? what is it?..........I really think the GOP is going to see just how deep the Bush hate is in this country...GOP Scam said it pretty good.
And just what exactly IS Romney's message???????
Answer; Fairy Dust
Right – back on message – "Romney is a TAX Dodger" – great message.
Yes Mitt's message is lets get the country going forward by going back and undoing the past. Lets spend huge amounts of time, money and effort to undo Roe vs Wade and the Healthcare bill. let's give cuts to the rich so they can live better. If you cut a middleclass tax payer to 14% tax he'll turn around and spend it on his family buying homes, and items from local stores, etc creating demand. Cut a rich person's tax and he'll turn around and spend it on italian suits, sports cars and yachts.
The GOP Convention will be a Flip Flop Affair, sunny side down!
Romney and company say that "women need our help" and women say that the tooth fairy is more helpful than these candidates who are hell bent on stripping women of all the rights they have fought for and earned in the last century.