High-powered Ohio women join Ann Romney in Columbus

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  • Ann Romney signs autographs after speaking at a victory rally for her husband and presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday in Strongsville.
    Ann Romney signs autographs after speaking at a victory rally for her husband and presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday in Strongsville.

    COLUMBUS — “You don’t talk. You roll up your sleeves and do.”

    That remark from Ann Romney on Thursday described how her husband reacted when a friend’s son was dying of cancer.

    But she said it was also how Mitt Romney would serve as president.

    The “Women for Mitt” rally in Columbus, in which she was joined on stage by notable women in and out of Ohio politics, was at least partly designed to counter the Democratic contention that Republicans have been waging a “war on women” because of the targeting of Planned Parenthood, pursuit of a reversal of Roe vs. Wade, and Mr. Romney’s much-ridiculed debate comment referring to “binders” of women considered for posts in Massachusetts when he was governor.

    “Women are coming up to me and saying, ‘Please

    help,’ ” Mrs. Romney said.

    “Women have been coming to me saying, ‘We’re hurting.’ There’s a woman I just met in Des Moines that grabbed me — she’s been volunteering with her daughters — and she said she’s been out of work for a year and a half.

    “She’s been giving blood to put food on the table for her children,’’ she said.

    “These are the things you cannot forget. These are the voices you cannot get out of your head. The only thing I can tell them is that help is on the way.”

    On her last day of solo campaigning, Mrs. Romney presented a united front with the likes of Jane Portman, wife of Ohio Sen. Rob Portman; Cindy McCain, wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain; Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor; former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery; former Ohio Speaker of the House Jo Ann Davidson, and Barbara Nicklaus, wife of golf legend Jack Nicklaus.

    Thursday marked Mrs. Romney’s second day concentrating on Ohio while her husband concentrated on Florida and Virginia.

    The “girls bus’’ also planned a rally in Strongsville near Cleveland, with quick side stops in Heath and Wadsworth.

    But Mrs. Romney will rejoin her husband on the campaign trail today when he and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan return to what is considered the battleground of all battleground states.

    Obama spokesman Jessica Kershaw said Ohioans are worthy of a president who will give them more than what Mr. Romney has promised.

    “Ohioans know that President Obama stands on their side when it comes to the things that matter — keeping good-paying jobs in the U.S., protecting education investments, and strengthening Medicare for future generations,’’ Ms. Kershaw said.

    “Mitt Romney, on the other hand, would give tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, force students to shop around for an affordable education, and turn Medicare into a voucher program. That’s not the kind of president Ohioans deserve,” she said.

    No Republican has made it to the White House without going through Ohio, and the Obama campaign is counting on the Buckeye State as its firewall to keep Mr. Romney from reaching the magic number of 270 electoral votes.

    While polls early in the week showed the race largely a dead heat, a series of polls since, while still showing a tight race, have suggested a trending toward Mr. Obama in Ohio.

    “This President has a title in his campaign. It’s ‘Forward,’ ” Ms. Montgomery, who also has served as Ohio auditor, told the crowd in Columbus.

    “You know why he wants you to look forward? Because he doesn’t want you to look back, because when you look back his record tells you why we need a new president.”

    Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com, or 614-221-0496.