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At one time, Mitt Romney hoped these would be the closing days of his own campaign for president.
But instead, Mr. Romney, a onetime hopeful for the Republican presidential nomination, was in Toledo last night chastising Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama for lacking experience while rallying GOP volunteers to amp up their efforts in the final hours to elect John McCain the man who beat him in the Republican primary.
To see so many smiling and enthusiastic people I d almost think you are here to see me, but I know better, Mr. Romney told the crowd of more than 150 after a warm reception at the GOP s Lucas County Victory Office.
Mr. Romney, a Michigan native and former Massachusetts governor, ended his bid for the Republican nomination for president in February after a string of wins by Mr. McCain in key primaries.
Although Mr. Romney bowed out of the Republican race before Ohio s March 4 primary, he still received 36,021 votes in Ohio.
He said last night he is fearful an Obama presidency will cause the U.S. to take a sharp left turn, following European nations, which he said have suffered with sagging economies and lackluster job growth.
What you ll see in John McCain and Sarah Palin is a team to create jobs, Mr. Romney said.
Obama spokesman Tom Reynolds said Mr. McCain can t identify a single major thing he d do differently on the economy than George Bush.
These desperate, last-minute distortions by John McCain and his supporters are a clear sign of how out of touch and out of ideas John McCain is, Mr. Reynolds said in a statement, adding, Barack Obama will stand up for the middle class, create jobs, and bring the change our country needs.
Before Mr. McCain chose Ms. Palin, the Alaska governor, as his running mate, Mr. Romney was widely speculated to be on his shortlist for vice presidential candidates.
During the primary season, Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney bickered over negative advertising and how their records were portrayed.
Last night, it was clear that the former foes had made amends.
John McCain and I didn t agree on every issue ... but he won the nomination fair and square, Mr. Romney, adding he agrees with Mr. McCain on many of the biggest issues facing the country.
Asked if he expects to seek his party s nomination in 2012, Mr. Romney shook his head.
I ll tell you who is running for election in 2012 and that will be John McCain s re-election bid, Mr. Romney said.
Mr. Romney also said he has no interest in a position in Mr. McCain s administration, should he be elected president Tuesday.
I d rather be on the outside fighting for what I think is right, he said.
Contact Steve Eder at: email@example.com or 419-304-1680.