Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at Port Columbus International Airport.
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LANCASTER, Ohio -- The Republican presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan made their first post-debate appearance together here in this central Ohio town, exulting in Mr. Ryan's debate performance and continuing to hammer on themes of patriotism and repealing "Obamacare."
Meanwhile President Barack Obama's campaign began blanketing Ohio with two new TV ads attacking the GOP candidates' stance on tax and women's issues.
Some 8,500 people filled the town square, the third crowd of the week in Ohio of more than 8,000 showing up for Mr. Romney, whose standing in opinion polls have improved since his own debate last week.
"We're going to get that big cloud of Obamacare off small business," Mr. Romney said. "Under President Obama, the middle class in America keeps coming down, down, down. It's really tough in America being middle class even if you have a job."
He categorically ruled out a tax increase on "the middle class," in contrast to the Obama-Biden campaign's repeated claim that Mr. Romney's tax reform plan -- combining a 20-percent across the board cut in taxes with eliminating some deductions and exemptions -- will result in an extra $2,000 a year in taxes on middle class families.
He said the interest on the debt being incurred by the government "will cause them to raise taxes on the middle class."
"I make this commitment to you. Under no circumstances will I raise taxes on the middle class of America," Mr. Romney said.
He claimed Mr. Ryan showed up Mr. Biden in their televised debate Thursday night.
"There was one person on the stage with thoughtfulness, who was respectful, who was steady and poised. There was one person on stage that you'd want to be with in a crisis and it's this man right here," Mr. Romney said.
Joyce Owens, 65, of Pataskala, Ohio, near Columbus, said Mr. Romney's performance in the previous week and Mr. Ryan's satisfactory debate outing Thursday have made her much more hopeful about the outcome of the election.
"I was concerned before the debates," said Ms. Owens, a homemaker. "My sister and I would talk and pray about it every day. I was worried and I'm not so worried now."
Obama spokesman Lis Smith said Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan were "defensive about last night’s debate at their event in Ohio." She said Vice President Biden "unmasked their real agenda. Romney and Ryan want to cut taxes by $250,000 for multi-millionaires and pay for it by raising taxes on the middle class."
While Mr. Romney is in Ohio in person, Mr. Obama was releasing two new ads in the state.
One, called "Economic Growth," criticizes Mr. Romney for defending his 14-percent tax rate, paid on capital gains on an income of more than $20 million, even though it is lower than many people earning middle-class salaries.
"Romney is wrong – as middle-class families learned the hard way, tax breaks for millionaires and tax hikes on the middle-class leads to endless deficits, not economic growth," the ad tells viewers in swing state media markets of Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
A second ad is aimed at women voters and attacks "the Romney-Ryan ticket’s extreme views on women’s health." It highlights Mr. Romney's campaign promise to end funding for Planned Parenthood.
Meanwhile, the Romney campaign rushed out a new radio ad highlighting the Pentagon's plans under President Obama to shut down the M1 Abrams tank plant in Lima. Mr. Biden said in the debate, “We don’t need more M1 tanks.”
In his own comments to the Lancaster rally, Mr. Ryan alluded to the plan to close the public-private partnership in Lima producing the tank.
"When you say it's OK to impose these devastating cuts in our military, or we don't need any more M1 Lima-built tanks, what we are doing is projecting weakness, and when we project weakness abroad our enemies become more brazen," Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have been in and out of Ohio all week, including a stop by Mr. Ryan at Toledo Express Airport on Monday.
On Saturday, Mr. Romney will return to southern Ohio for rallies in Portsmouth and Lebanon. Mr. Ryan will speak at a morning rally in Youngstown and attend a tailgate party at the football game in Bowling Green between Bowling Green State University and his alma mater, Miami University of Ohio.
Contact Tom Troy at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.
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