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.
Just remind the people on all the failures of Obama like the Debt, the high unemployment numbers, the higher number of people on Welfare, the higher number of people on Food Stamps.
Then let the people know that you'll work with companies who will start hiring after that Abortion of a law is terminated, yes that Health Care law removal will open the doors of companies and they will start hiring.
Viva Obama, American said no to Romney with multiple bank accounts overseas, Ryan want to end medicare just after his mom does not need it anymore.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan don't need a plan. Grover Norquist said all they need is five digits to sign his legislation into law. Come on people, we know the President is suppost to do what rich people want. Mitt and Paul will do that!
What was that "message" again? Oh yes, "Obama doesn't understand America", and "I can make things better." Brilliant strategy. Something a 6-year-old could have come up with.
I I have heard the message and it doesn't resonate with me even though I am Republican. He wants to reduce the taxes on the rich like himself so that they don't pay any taxes (this, according to independent economists). He wants to do away with most social programs that benefit the middle class such as Social Security and Medicare. With this said, "Why in the world would anyone vote for presidential candidate, Romney?" Remember you don't have to vote for Obama or Romney. There are excellent third party candidates that if elected would make the United States a better place for all.
What message? Romney has given us NO information on what he is FOR and what he says changes from campaign to campaign stop. Romney has NO message. NO solutions for JOBS, NO solutions for infrastucture, NO solutions for economic recovery for the PEOPLE, and absolutely NOTHING positive to say about anything. His real plans by choosing Ryan show he does plan to kill Medicare, Social Security, public education, all people welfare but giving everything we have to corporate welfare – no taxes, no regulations, no minimum wage anymore, no workers comp, no food stamps, no hot lunches for poor school children, no veteran benefits or pensions, and the list goes on. Romney is only for taking AWAY all the People have and giving it to the corporations who bought his lie and hate campaign ads. He is a destroyer. His message is "I don't care about the People".
Romney has a message, unlike Obama who wants to focus on small issues and avoid his record because it stinks
I dont get how the Republicans hope to win with:-
Obama is useless he failed on everything.
Obama's words are meaningless and we can do it better.
The problem with Romney and the Republicans is that:-
a) Like it or not Obama did not fail on everything, and if they are elected a similar criticism will be made against Romney et al eventually. The boring useless go nowhere ideological battle.
b) Why if Obama's words are useless /meaningless are thiers any better ( not meaningless or useless) in relation to making all things better because I am still searching, apart from medicare and abortion, what the Republicans represent this time around.
Except to say they are somehow going to spend more on defense, continue wars, and reduce taxes. The latter which at least for a couple of years ((maybe more)) will increase the debt.
I really do need to understand MORE ON HOW THAT IMPOSSIBLE MIRACLE WORKS BETTER WHEN THE WORLD IS IN A GLOBAL DECLINE AND EUROPE IN RECESSION? That consequently makes aquick turnaround promise totally unrealistic, There is no magic bullet.
Back on a phones message. If the American voters elect thes two candidates, they will enact legislation that will damage the nation and the effects will take years to overcome.
Romney has a message? I haven't heard one thing he plans to do except support Ryan's plan which he insists isn't his plan, flip-flop on everything he's ever done politicly as a governor and perhaps invade Iran. Maybe that's his plan, start WWIII to get out of this mess.
I would vote for any one, except Obama. No logic behind my comment, I just don't trust him.
may i ask what message bho has had the last 4yrs. may i tell you not hope@change period.
Romney needs to show his tax returns.
Just like every other Presidential candidate in the last 36 years has.
RObmeys message: It took Buish 8 years to destroy America, We'll accomplish that in two
Romney's message "President Obama hasn't fixed the incredible mess we republicans made last time we were in office quickly enough."
So it'll be back to the Romney message: Give me, me, me all the money (14% is too, too high). If you give me and my friends all the money, we'll create jobs.
Smaller, more expensive and MUCH more intrusive goverment that benefits the top 5% and corporate america at the expense of the middle-class and the Constitution.
it'll change when we rid ourselves of this worthless congress
Ohh my...For entertainment and insight. google "mitt romney caught in lies". There are a multitude of videos on youtube of Mitt Romney being caught in a web of lies by reporters. I especially find the one involving reporter Glenn Robinson frightening. Glenn questions the truthfulness of a statement made by Mitt...eventually Mitt gets so frustrated he walks off...but with his campaign manager approaches Glenn later and attempts to intimidate him. Mitt's campaign manager attacks Glenn as well, In a condescending manner claiming he was unproffesional and he shouldn't probe a candidate for the presidency. When did asking important questions become unprofessional...and it's frightening that, as a mere candidate, Mitt deems it OK to intimidate people for just asking the tough questions. Mitts a compulsive liar and that's fact...I can't believe anyone would consider voting for this man.
Back on message? Like claiming to be "Active" in Bain to duck taxes while telling the rest of us taxpayers he was "Retired" since 1999. And this "Active" in the Bain investerments is from his 2010 returns which is th eonly one he has released.
No wonder Romney wants to keep the lies covered up in the returns. Get on the ball CNN. Do some actual investigative reporting. As we keep hearing on Out Front: The numbers just don't add up.
How about this math: No transparency regarding tax and overseas financial dealings: No deserve a vote.
Release the returns. Now. Use the day off from the Convention to release them so when we hear the speech we actually will know Mitt Romney.
Romney's message is "I'm rich and your'e not...!" He is presumed to be predisposed to the ability to buy the presidency and we are the serfs that clean up after his horse and carry his silver platter around for him. He has no desire to advance the direction or complexion of the nation, only enrich the pockets of his contributors and those who whisper little deals into his secret conversations that will make society obsequies to his wealthy empire and desire, as we subsist on Walmart economies. As for kings and emperors, I have no need.
Romney has no message. He has no core beliefs. He will say and do anything to gain power. It is all about him and the 1%. He does not care about anyone else. He puts his money in Swiss bank accounts and then tells the American people how much he loves America. Mitt is a fraud.
"Hi Grandma! You don’t need Medicare anymore. Here is a shiny new voucher to give to the insurance company bureaucrat – he will take care of you." - Team Romney
At least everyone now realizes that Harry Reid's lies about Romney paying no taxes blew up inhis fac. Now onto tbe economy boys.
What they say, "let's get back on message". What I hear, "please forget all the looney tunes stuff we said while pursuing the votes of the ultra-right, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-science bible thumpers".