Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sings "God Bless America" as he campaigns at the football stadium at Defiance High School in Defiance, Ohio, with from left to right, Randy Owen, Meat Loaf, John Rich and Big Kenny.
DEFIANCE, Ohio - Mitt Romney rallied a large crowd in the high school football stadium here tonight after surprise musical guest Meat Loaf belted out an endorsement for the Republican presidential nominee to the crowd of 12,000 people.
Mr. Romney ended a three-city tour of Ohio here and then was to stay overnight at the Hilton Toledo Hotel, with no public events planned.
He is expected to fly out of Toledo Express Airport Friday morning to go to a campaign event in another swing state, Iowa, before returning for a rally Friday night in North Canton, Ohio.
Meat Loaf said he has never taken a public stand but said 2012 is the most important election in the history of the U.S.
"One thing you've been taught all your life is never argue politics or religion with your friends. 2012 is different," he said, telling people to argue on Mr. Romney's behalf. "I called three Democrats and got two of them to switch to Romney, so two out of three ain't bad."
Mr. Romney tailored his remarks to middle-aged workers, young people, and parents. He told college students that, "I know the President wants to get college students to come out and vote for him, but if they do, they're making a big mistake. Half of them won't be able to find a job or at least not one consistent with their college degree."
He said they'll also be stuck with "debts wracked up by me and my generation."
He vowed to cut federal spending, cap federal spending as a percentage of the economy, and get the country on track to a balanced budget. He claimed that health insurance costs will skyrocket because of Obamacare, which he said he would repeal.
"The President's been struggling to find a plan that will get people back to work. He doesn't have a plan other than more of the same," Mr. Romney said, then added, "his plan is another stimulus, hiring more government workers."
He told parents of school children they won't be able to send their children to charter schools if Mr. Obama gets re-elected because, due to his political relationship with public school teacher unions, "they're not going to give you the chance to have that choice."
"Of course he also wants to raise taxes. Taxes being raised does not create American jobs," Mr. Romney said.
Defiance is home to a large General Motors Co. factory, which Democrats have pointed out is working because of the 2009 federal auto rescue pushed through by President Obama. Mr. Romney opposed the bailout, saying the auto companies could seek federal loan guarantees as part of a managed bankruptcy.
Ken Lortz, regional director of the United Auto Workers union, issued a statement that, "Mitt Romney abandoned Ohio workers by urging that we 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.'” He said President Obama ignored pundits and politics to save the American auto industry, saving the one in eight Ohio jobs that depend on it.
In the crowd was Defiance lawyer Clay Crates drawing attention with his "Obama 08" T-shirt. With him was girlfriend Leslie Vogelsong, 23, a special education teacher who wore a "Romney-Ryan" button.
Mr. Crates said he didn't have any problems with the anti-Obama crowd, but said that he was supporting Mr. Obama because everyone should have health care. "It was a big deal when he got that passed and the Supreme Court upheld it," Mr. Crates said.
Ms. Vogelsong said she's supporting Mr. Romney because Mr. Obama has driven the national debt too high.
"I'm supporting Romney for economic reasons. I don't think Obama has done enough for the last four years," Ms. Vogelsong said.
Also entertaining the large Defiance crowd was Randy Owen of the country group "Alabama."
The crowd heard from U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) and Mr. Latta's wife, Marcia, as well as state Auditor Dave Yost, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), and Gov. John Kasich.