Westerville, Ohio (CNN) – As he attempts to reverse a polling deficit against President Obama in Ohio, Mitt Romney had a message for that swing state's voters Wednesday: he feels their pain, and he knows how to fix it.
The GOP presidential candidate told 2,000 voters in a high school gym outside Columbus they could trust him to know his strengths – righting the economy, he said, as well as tackling the national debt.
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"I've been across this country. My heart aches for the people I've seen," Romney told the enthusiastic supporters seated on folding chairs around a high school gym. "And the difference between me and President Obama is I know what to do and I will do what it takes to get this economy going."
Recognizing that many small business owners pay taxes on their business through their personal income filing, Romney aknowledged that his tax reforms would affect the personal income system.
"By the way don't be expecting any huge cut in taxes because I'm also going to lower deductions and exemptions," Romney said. "But by bringing rates down we'll be able to have small businesses keep more of their money so they can hire more people."
Though Romney lags behind Obama in a handful of recent polls taken in Ohio, polls from The Washington Post and Quinnipiac University showed voters here trust Romney more than the president to do a better job handling the budget deficit.
"When [Obama] came into office there was just over ten trillion dollars in debt. Now there's over 16 trillion dollars in debt. If he were reelected I can assure you it will be almost 20 trillion dollars in debt," Romney told the audience, as he stood next to a digital debt clock the campaign has used at some previous events. "By the way, those debts get passed on to our kids. It's not just bad for the economy, it's not just bad for our job creation it will – in my opinion it is immoral for us to pass on obligations like that to the next generation."
Romney's appearance here Wednesday came as part of a three-day joint bus tour with running mate Paul Ryan designed to shore up support for the Republican ticket in the last 40 days of the White House race.
Golf legend Jack Nicklaus delighted the audience with an appearance, and introduced Romney by saying the two men shared family values. In turn, Romney called Nicklaus "the greatest athlete of the 20th century."
"When he said this election is not about him, but about his kids and his grandkids I knew just what he felt, that's what this campaign is all about," Romney said.
He also ruefully joked with the audience about what he called one of his weaknesses – athleticism.
"When I got the job to help organize the Olympic Winter Games in 2002, I knew that it was a bit ironic for a guy with such little athletic ability as myself to be able to be responsible for the largest athletic event in the world," Romney joked. "My boys also saw the irony in it."
– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
His heart aches? Maybe Mitt would turn his numbers around if he had some real human moments. He is just so fake and most people don't buy into that. You can agree or disagree with someone and still respect them, but not when they lie to you, to themselves and try so hard to be something they are not.....
and to obama, those people are just 'bumps in the road'
His heart aches? In the picture, it looks like he and Jack are singing a duet!
His heart aches for the struggling 47% who he doesn't care about.
The more I see Mitt Romney the more I think that he thinks and talk like a little kid. He proved it again when he asked his supporters to shout "Romney-Ryan" instead – when the crowd was shouting only "Ryan". It was so childish but I kinda felt sorry for him. I really don't think he has what it takes to be the President of the greatest country on earth.
I am an independent and I think President Obama did a pretty decent job given the fiscal calamity he faced when he took office when we were losing NET 900,000 job EACH MONTH. Sorry Tea Party...I have to vote for whoever is best for my country. Thanks and everyone have a blessed day. :-)
So, he says to people " my heart aches", and to prove it, he appears on the stage with Jack Nicklaus, a man who designs golf courses and country clubs? This is his common touch? Why won't he fire his events coordinator?
My heart aches everytime I hear you speak Willard. As far as Jack Nicklaus being the best athlete of the 20th century, that's laughable.
Tell em what they want to hear Willard. Boy I can smell the desperation in the air. Willard you acted like you had this in the bag. You have gone around the world insulting people and showing that money can't buy class, then you wonder why you are sinking like the Titanic. Did you think most people just want the black man out and would vote for you no matter what you said or did? Don't worry, many will vote for you for that very reason, but many won't. You lie incessantly and you look down your nose at us little people, and now after you are caught on secret tape stating your true beliefs, you care about our struggle. Give me a break. If you or any member of the GOP cared, they would be working with the President, not against him. We're Americans, not democrat and republican, just Americans.
He has never known the pain of the families struggling. He hand Anne may have used an ironing board as a table but that does not mean he knows what family hardship is truly like.
As for a plan to fix it- HA! his 60 Minute interview Sunday showed no plan to help anyone but the wealthy with tax cuts.
Until coprorate greed is abated and workers are paid fairly and hired in sufficient numbers to jobs, we will continue to have problems. Obama has already reduced the FED employment by 100,000 workers. And short of firing or loss of services, there is no quick fix to government spending- and definitely not in his plan.
We know and unlike Obama he has actually eased the pain of those suffering
What a pathetic man, the Mittster. I feel your pain he says? Riiigggghhhhtttt!
"I've been across this country. My heart aches for the people I've seen,"
And that's why he wants to give himself a massive tax cut and pay for it by eliminating or reducing deductions and tax credits for the middle class (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, child care) and by draconian cuts to educational assistance, food stamps, and other programs that help the very people his "hear aches" for. Really, Mitt????????? Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Awe how sweet. It only aches because he got caught saying he didn't care about their vote. This guy is digging it deeper and deeper everyday.
I just don't believe Romney, I think he is not truthful. The secret video in Florida showed me the real Romney.
Insincere and he can't help it, not with the life experiences he's had and not had.
"Why Romney is losing must-win Ohio"
Spelled it wrong, CNN. It's "BOHIO" now.
how many jobs did Bain create over seas at the expense of Americans ?
The only thing this guy's heart aches for is to be elected president – which is slowly slipping away. He will say anything to get electe.
"my heart aches for people suffering" – give me a break! – This guy was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He makes $14M/yr without doing any useful work. He claims to know the hardship that ordinary people have?
This is pure Hypocrisy, even a child would not fail to see that.
His words are not real. What he said in private that is what he believes.
That's not what you said to your high rolling friends, Mitt. We are not buying your BS.
"I've been across this country. My heart aches for the people I've seen," Romney
Indeed, they had to buy a domestic Cadillac over the Mercedes, and egads, the domestic is now last years model!
Maybe people would believe him if he articulated a real and insightful plan, instead of saying "Trust me." I can't.
Romney has a long list of "weaknesses" – lacking in athleticsim is the least one.
Romney has now shown how sleaze does not bother him either – He hired Ralph Reed: (Abramoff, Delay, Norquist,
Enron ring any bells?) All manipulators of the worst kind and Ralphie was right there with them.
Romney Weakness number 2,176 – Lack of judgement.
Yesterday you said: I don't even care about them. Today: Your heart aches about the striggling...You are not sincere with yourself
Oh? Then why isn't his overseas money in the U.S.A. helping to create jobs?
The "job creators" had their tax breaks for 11 years, and have done NOTHING. They are hoarding their jobs.
Let all the tax cuts expire, if that's what it takes to make them pay their fair share for the wars and Medicare Part D.