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.
Where is the outrage about his paternalistic comment "women need our help". Speaking as a woman, what we need is for Republicans to keep their hands out of our pants and purses.
At least Romney/Paul has an economic message. Obama/Biden only attacks. The Dems have not even submitted a real budget since Obama took office. The Reps at least submitted a budget plan. The Dems are the party of "no".
Soooo, back to those tax returns and the funneling of your money through fiscal heavens...
Message to Mitt
"Don't roof rack me bro"
The Middle Class
The problem with your article header is that Romney has no message and has no plan. He has not told anyone what he plans to do to change anything. All he talks about is the problem. but doesn't preset anything to fix it. This is typical GOP garbage.
maybe the message should be about the legislation that Ryan sponsored that made it into law...1) naming a post office and 2) changing an excise tax on hunting arrows...
I THOUGH THE GOP ARE FRO SMALL GOV'T WHAT DOES HE MEAN BY HELP? I THOUGH THEY ARE A HANDS OFF APPROACH TO FREE ENTERPRISE. HOW DO THESE REPUBLICANS KEEP SUCH A STRAIT FACE WHEN THEY TALK?
Once again C N N tries to distort the truth to make it SEEM as though an Obama win is inevitable... sorry guys... hard as you try to ignore the facts (gee, I wonder why you never covered the fact that The Amateur was on the NYTimes Best seller list for SIX WEEKS, why are you not covering the movie 2016 which had a blockbuster opening?) Because you seek to shut down whatever does not support the narrative YOU want to tell.
The truth cannot be supressed – and Americans are waking up. Time to end the Obama nightmare. Romney/Ryan 2012!!
At this point any body but Obama is all I gear.. Tax records, gaffes t the media accentuates or ignores at will don't count anymore... We need to move on and America knows that Romney in a landslide
obama=amnesty for illegal aliens nobama 2012 end of a error
Yes get back on message, starting with Obama not born here in the USA, not releasing taxes, not saying what his real economic agenda is, telling the American people that even though his sate was 47th in job creation when he was governor he has " a new plan" for the other sates that will work this time; back on message telling lies about Obamneycare , telling us about how he will use the Bush policies that destroyed the economy/500000 job losses monthly to create a vibrant economy & millions of jobs. Back on message with Romneyhood & Friar Paul telling all women that we are taking you back to the stone age, women have to be "raped enough "before you can get an abortion etc....
He sounds like a used car salesman....
Mitt Romney is nothing more than a born to priveledge elite who simply wants to add the title President as one more notch on his bedpost. Beyond that, his advisers will be running the show. By the end of the destruction to America a Mitt Romney presidency will bring, even George Bush's eight years will be looked back upon as the oldie but goodie years.
Ok got the message.Where's your tax returns.
I'm not running for president. The public has no need to see my tax returns, but I am a Navy Veteran, who unashamedly paid my fair share of taxes and have never been unemployed since I was kid and have two Master's degrees and still serve my country. But Mitt Willard refuses to show America more than 1 or 2 years’ worth. He is hiding from his record and his privileged life. He doesn't talk much about the time he ran from combat and hid in France under the Mormon Church's Draft Dodger Protection Program while 58,000 Americans died in the jungles of Vietnam for sissy coward pukes like him. No Thanks, Mr. Middle-Class Destroyer and Supreme Coward, Willard Etch-a-Sketch, America and its proud active duty troops and war Veterans like me, will never have to look at your ugly lying face hanging in a wall photo on any base or government building anywhere because YOU, Willard the COWARD, will NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE TO the seat of power and authority that President Obama will no doubt retain for a 2nd term starting in November 2012.
You want my vote? First step is to release you tax returns for 10 years. Can't do that? I'll vote for the under candidate. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with what is legally required!
Romney needs to get on message with what his father believed and did, and that is to let the voters know that he is not hiding illegal dealings that would be cleared up by letting us see 10 years of his tax returns. Everyone knows he is hiding something, the question is how bad. Is it that he has huge swiss bank accounts and that he was one of those caught by the IRS and took a plea deal, promising he wouldn't hide the income again? WHAT IS MITT HIDING – COME OUT OF THE CLOTHSET MITT ROMNEY – AMERICA NEEDS TO KNOW.
Romney to middle America.
Little people pay taxes.
The 1% is above the law.
I certainly don't trust the republicans who, for 40 years, have vowed to shrink it to the size of a tub so they can drown it.
Their words, not mine.
Romney does not stand a chance. He needs too many swing states and it will not happen.
The message is: Stop all abortions, make the rich richer and stop medicare. They will go down in flames.
The problem with having a "businessman" as a candidate is: they aren't looking beyond the next quarter; they'll say anything to get your vote; they have no core beliefs or morals (except of course profit); they do not consider the long-term effects of their actions; they don't believe in government; they hate their workers.
We already did a businessman President. It was a disaster. We should not take a step back into the darkness.
"Please, let's stay on the topics. I don't want to discuss my personal taxes, Bain documents leaked on 8/23/12 to the Washington Post showing investments being funneled to offshore accounts, the War of Women, or anything related to my own personal failures as a leader. Please, let's redirect and let me blame someone else"
Nov. 2nd 2012 – Bring Kleenex and cameras, you wont believe how many elephants will be crying.
the only reason that the republicans are delaying their convention is not the storm its so the atkins story will die and it gives them more time to go over every speakers speech to kake sure that they don't put their foot into their mouth.
WOMEN NEED OUR HELP!!!
Har har har !!!!! Is this a republican talking? Did Romney forget about all the Obama bashing for wanting to help women??? These people have no shame.
And by the way, Mitt, release your tax returns. Show us that you DIDN'T make tons of money at Bain Capital sending jobs overseas and laying off people, only then I can believe that you are sincere about creating jobs AND HELPING US WOMEN.