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The Romney camp also responded in a press release in which Mr. Romney said that the jobs numbers are “a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill” and that the policies embraced by the Obama administration have “crushed” the middle class.

Mr. Romney began his day with an event Wisconsin State Fair Park, where Mr. Starr, the gridiron legend, said Mr. Romney is a natural born leader.

“He has been successful in every endeavor he has pursued, and I have every confidence that, if elected president, he would continue that remarkable level of success,” Mr. Star said.

The massive event here in at the Square at Union Centre drew about 18,000 people, according to local police estimates, and served as a political pageant of sorts for the who’s who of the Republican party. And many of them, including Mr. Romney’s running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, treated Mr. Obama like a political piñata.

Mr. Ryan said that Mr. Obama’s promise of “hope and change” has rung hollow, training his fire at what he said was his failure to fulfill his pledge to cut the deficit in half, bring bipartisanship to Washington and to get more people out of the unemployment lines.

“We have a jobs crises,” Mr. Ryan said. “Wouldn’t it be nice to actually have a job creator in the White House for a change.”

House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, said the nation has a chance to “save the American dream” and that voters believed Mr. Obama when he said in 2008 that he would “turn things around.”

“He talked about hope, he talked about post-partisan politics, and all we got from the American people now is their hope for change.

The Ohio Republican asked and answered his own question. “Can we afford four more years like that?” he said. “Hell no, we can’t!”

Meanwhile, Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that instead of trying to put the best face on the newest jobs numbers, Mr. Obama “should resign,” and Arizona Sen. John McCain, the party’s 2008 nominee, said that Mr. Obama was “AWOL” when it came to protecting U.S. diplomats during the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya that led to the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three of his staffers.

Poll show that Mr. Obama sits atop a slim lead in Ohio, a state that many political observers see as a must-win for Mr. Romney. No Republican has won the White House without winning the Buckeye State.

In the waning days of the election, the Romney campaign also is claiming that they are expanding the electoral map into states that were seen as friendly turf for Mr. Obama months ago and have made the case that winning Wisconsin — won handily by Mr. Obama four years ago — is within reach.

Some of the optimism derives from the fact that Mr. Ryan is a native son.

“It’s good to be in the home state of the next vice president of the United States. Next to Ann Romney, Paul Ryan is the best choice I ever made,” Mr. Romney said at his stop in Wisconsin Friday, referring to his wife.

In addition, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who campaigned with Mr. Romney on Friday, fended off a recall effort earlier this year with the help of a major GOP grassroots effort to organize their ranks across the state.

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