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Sat November 3, 2012
Ohio Gets Love And Hot Rhetoric From Romney Camp
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Mitt Romney is also trying to pack as much campaigning into these final days as he can. Mr. Romney is working at a new level of intensity in the race as makes his closing arguments to American voters. NPR's Ari Shapiro is one the road with the Romney campaign and has this report.
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Mitt Romney's day felt like a windup to the grand finale. It started with a formal speech, and ended with by far the biggest rally of this campaign. In Wisconsin, Romney delivered what aides described as a closing argument. While he appeared formal in a dark suit and tie, his audience was raucous and downright jubilant.
CROWD: Four more days. Four more days. Four more days. Four more days.
SHAPIRO: They spontaneously burst into a cheer of four more days as Romney took the stage. Then the candidate launched into remarks that took a wider perspective than his standard campaign pitch.
MITT ROMNEY: Now, you and I have watched over these last few months as our campaign has gathered strength, the strength of a movement. It's not just the size of the crowds, it's the depth of our shared conviction.
SHAPIRO: He talked about the ways President Obama has come up short in the last four years, pointing to a slow recovery and partisan gridlock in Washington.
ROMNEY: Instead of bridging the divide, he's made it wider. Now how is it that he's fallen so short of what he promised? In part it's because he'd never led before. He'd never worked across the aisle before. He never truly understood how jobs are created in the economy. And of course today he's now making new promises - promises he will be unable to keep.
SHAPIRO: The latest unemployment report undercuts Romney's argument a bit. With more than 170,000 new jobs created last month, the jobless rate is now 7.9 percent. Romney pointed out that unemployment is now higher than the 7.8 percent level it was when President Obama took office.
ROMNEY: We've almost forgotten what a real recovery looks like.
SHAPIRO: Alan Henning of Madison, Wisconsin says the figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics obscures what's really going on in the job market. He used to be a carpenter, then home prices crashed.
ALAN HENNING: I kept looking for construction work - nothing. Nothing in the state of Wisconsin. And looked all over the place. So, I did farming for a couple of years. And farming - there's too many rules and regulations about you got to put the cow over there and make her look nice and tidy. OK? She wants to get out there and run around, OK? Just get out of my way, OK? We know what to do.
SHAPIRO: Wisconsin was not really a swing state until Paul Ryan joined the ticket. At this rally outside of Milwaukee, Romney said it's good to be in the home state of the next vice president of the United States.
ROMNEY: Next to Ann Romney, Paul Ryan is the best choice I've ever made, I got to tell you.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
SHAPIRO: Later in the day in Ohio, the two running mates reunited for a climactic nighttime rally in a town square outside of Cincinnati. Kid Rock entertained more than 20,000 people with the song that has started and ended just about every Romney rally for more than a year, "Born Free."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORN FREE")
KID ROCK: (Singing) I was born free, I was born free...
SHAPIRO: People in the stands held up letters spelling out Ohio believes. Dozens of Republican political stars filled the stage - from senator john McCain to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served up hot rhetoric on a freezing fall night.
RUDY GIULIANI: I believe some Americans whom might not have to have died, may have died because of we had incompetence in the White House.
SHAPIRO: Mitt Romney took the stage with his wife Ann and thanked all of these Republican leaders for showing up.
ROMNEY: Now, you've probably heard they've gathered here tonight because they're about to fan out across the entire nation to make sure that we have victory on November 6th. And some comic in the team has named us the Romney-Ryan real recovery road rally.
SHAPIRO: R-6 for short, he said. Romney mentioned a comment that President Obama made earlier in the day, also in Ohio.
ROMNEY: He asked his supporters to vote for revenge - for revenge. Instead, I ask the American people to vote for love of country.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
SHAPIRO: Romney flew to New Hampshire as soon as the rally was over, but this is far from his last Ohio visit. Even with only three days left in the race, he plans to return to the state again tomorrow and Monday. After that, it will be up to Ohioans. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, traveling with the Romney campaign. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.