“It’s really a brilliant speech," the imminent Republican nominee told a crowd of about 5,000 gathered in a park in the heart of the small Republican-friendly Delaware County town of Powell.
“He says marvelous things," Mr. Romney said. “He just hasn’t done them. My guess is a few weeks from now he’ll be speaking in the Bank of America Arena. He won’t call it that. He’ll be in Charlotte, and he probably won’t put Greek columns up behind him. He won’t want to remind us of that either.
“But he will have all sorts of promises to offer again," he said. “He’ll tell you how much better things are now. But this time we have more than just the words. We have the record, and we understand the big gap between what he promises and what he hopes and what he actually delivers."
And as the protestors on the outskirts of the park shouted things like “Hands off Medicare!" Mr. Romney didn’t let go to the Greek metaphor go.
“This is kind of like the Greek chorus in the background," he said. “Everything they do reminds us of Greece, and we’re not going to Greece. We’re going to get America back to being America."
The morning event marked Mr. Romney’s first joint appearance with running mate Paul Ryan in battleground Ohio, whose 18 electoral votes are seen as must-win for the Republican ticket.
It was a clear, sunny Saturday morning, unlike the literal storm clouds of what is expected to become Hurricane Isaac that could be headed for Florida just as Republicans start their convention. Mr. Romney is expected to accept his party’s nomination on Thursday.
From Powell, Mr. Romney headed home for Massachusetts while Mr. Ryan headed for New Hampshire and then to his home of Wisconsin. Mr. Romney came to Ohio directly from his native Michigan.
“You’ve got a border control problem if you have me coming in from Michigan this morning," he joked. He had no birth certificate joke this time as he did in Michigan on Friday.
His voice occasionally cracking, Mr. Romney repeated his primary five-point platform of deficit reduction, fair trade, energy independence, small business promotion, and education.
Standing in a state where a war over unions ended with the unions winning last year, Mr. Romney briefly took aim at teacher unions.
“We will put the teachers and the kids first and the union behind," he said.
He largely stuck to broader themes, choosing not to resurrect specific accusations related to such things as Medicare and welfare-to-work.
“This is a choice," Mr. Romney said. “What kind of America are we going to have? We have laid out an America that is based upon the skill, the capacity, the dream of each individual, and a government that protects their rights and encourages them to try to realize those dreams. That’s our vision.
“The President’s vision is one of a larger and larger government, taking more and more, and trying to provide more and more to you," he said. “It takes us on a road to Europe -- or worse, California. Just kidding about that. Sort of."
The Obama campaign claimed that nearly 55,000 county families earning less than $200,000 a year would see tax increases averaging $2,000 under Mr. Romney’s tax reform plans.
“Today, we saw why the Romney/Ryan plan is wrong for Ohio’s women, wrong for Ohio’s seniors, and wrong for Ohio’s future," said Obama spokesman Jessica Kershaw. “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan came to Powell, Ohio today on the heels of U.S. Rep. Todd Akin’s trip to the town to record his ad trying to explain his comments on ‘legitimate rape’ … ."
Emily Breig, 26, a data analyst from Columbus, stood in the crowd wearing a Romney T-shirt. But she was quick to point out that she has also stood in a different crowd this election cycle wearing an Obama shirt, making her one of the few people that polls suggest haven’t yet made up their minds.
She’s also who all those TV ads are targeting, but so far she mostly finds them annoying.
“They’re not particular positive, but I hope as we get closer to the election that they’ll focus on the issues and say what they plan for the country …," she said. “From my perspective, it looks like both of them are picking out specific things to show the other candidate as negatively as possible. They’re taking a specific view of facts."
A pair of polls released earlier this week both had Mr. Obama leading Ohio but by different amounts. A Quinnipiac/CBS News/New York Times Poll had the President up by 6 points over Mr. Romney, just outside the margin of error, while the smaller Ohio Poll by the University of Cincinnati had him up by 3 points, within the margin of error.
Contact Jim Provance at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 614-221-0496.