- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2012

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Mitt Romney kicked off Friday with the ringing public endorsement from Green Bay Packers football legend Bart Starr and ended with a rally that featured musician Kid Rock and more than a dozen of the nation’s most high-profile Republican figures.

The events bookended another stop at a Ohio manufacturer and were part of the GOP presidential ticket’s fourth quarter call to action and one of Mr. Romney’s final chances to deliver a closing argument in key swing states that could very well swing the outcome of next week’s presidential election.

At stop after stop, the former Massachusetts governor asked voters to “walk with me” and gave a muscular critique of the Obama administration, saying that the Democrat has fallen “very short” of following through on the promise of change that he drove home on the stump four years ago. The nation, Mr. Romney said, does not have to “settle” for more of the same.

Mr. Romney also suggested that Mr. Obama has steered the nation toward “another recession” and said that the 2012 election can be boiled down to a simple question: “Do you want more of the same or do you want real change?”

“President Obama promised change, but he could not deliver it. I promise change, and I have a record of achieving it,” Mr. Romney said.

Mr. Romney said that he will do the same thing in Washington that he did as governor of Massachusetts and that Mr. Obama has failed to do during his first term: Reach across the aisle to spin deficits into surpluses, to reduce the unemployment rate and to increase take-home pay.

“Accomplishing real change is not something I just talk about — it is something I have done. And it is what I will do when I am president of the United States,” Mr. Romney said.

Along the way, he vowed to scrap “Obamacare,” ease the regulations on oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands and waters and to put the nation on a path to a balanced federal budget.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith called Mr. Romney’s pledge of “real change” laughable, and said that the misleading ads related to the federal government’s bailout of the auto industry that the Romney camp is running in Ohio is more proof that Americans should be wary of his claims of bipartisanship.

“We know that’s not true: All Mitt Romney would do is bring back the failed policies of the past that crashed the economy and punished the middle class in the first place,” Ms. Smith said. “Here’s the truth: Mitt Romney will say or do anything to win, but Americans just can’t afford to let him take us backward.”

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, also weighed in, saying the notion that Democrats will work with Mr. Romney to pass his “severely conservative agenda” – much of which he said the Senate already has rejected – is a “fantasy.”

“Senate Democrats are committed to defending the middle class, and we will do everything in our power to defend them against Mitt Romney’s Tea Party agenda,” Mr. Reid said in a statement.

The Romney campaign plane touched down in Wisconsin Friday morning, less than an hour after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a new jobs report that showed 171,000 jobs were added in October, but that the national unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 7.9 percent.

It marked the second month in a row that the nation’s unemployment rate had fallen below 8 percent. Prior to that, the national jobless rate had been above 8 percent for 43 straight months under Mr. Obama, a key talking point for Republicans.

The report thrust the jobs issue back to the front burner of the presidential election and Mr. Romney reminded the crowd here that the unemployment rate is higher then when Mr. Obama took office.

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