CLEVELAND -- Addressing a large indoor crowd here today, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney promised to start off his new term by proposing budget cuts that he plans to call the "down payment on fiscal sanity act."
Mr. Romney urged the approximately 6,000 people inside the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport's I-X Center to not let up working for him over the next two days.
The former Massachusetts governor, who was brought up in suburban Detroit, was joined by his wife of 43 years, Ann Romney, on stage in the giant building that was constructed in 1942 to build the B29 bomber. He urged his supporters to bank their votes early, and kept up his barrage of criticism of President Obama's first term in office, while also accusing his opponent of running a campaign of "attack and blame."
"You hoped President Obama would bring people together to solve big problems, but he hasn't and I will," Mr. Romney said. "Let me tell you why he fell so short of what he promised - because he cared more about a liberal agenda than he did about repairing the economy."
He said his first act in office will be to issue the states waivers from having to comply with the Affordable Care Act. And he said he would quickly send Congress several "fundamental reforms," which he calls the "down payment on fiscal sanity act," the first of which would be to immediately cut nonsecurity discretionary spending by 5 percent. He emphasized he was talking about actual cuts, not just reductions, in the rate of growth.
Mr. Romney didn't mention the 2009 auto industry rescue that he opposed, but which has formed the backbone of the Obama re-election campaign in Ohio.
He cast the 2009 "stimulus" and the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known to Republicans -- and increasingly to proud Democrats -- as Obamacare, as failures that deepened rather than weakened the Great Recession.
Mr. Romney started to run down a list of the things he said would happen if President Obama wins re-election. That drew a collective groan from his audience.
"It's possible, but not likely," Mr. Romney deadpanned.
The crowd responded appreciatively to a line that he has been using in campaign appearances around the country and in TV advertising since Friday when President Obama gave him the opening.
"In his closing arguments President Obama asked his voters to vote for revenge -- for revenge. Instead I ask the American people to vote for love of country," Mr. Romney said.
Speaking in Springfield, Ohio, on Friday, Mr. Obama commented when crowds booed at the mention of Mr. Romney, "Don't boo, vote. Vote. Voting's the best revenge."
Mr. Romney urged supporters to try to convert undecided voters whom they know, and urged them to put signs in their yards, and their neighbors' yards.
"Our destiny is in your hands -- two more days and we can get to work rebuilding our country ... restoring our confidence ... that we're on a path to steady improvement, confidence that college grads four years from now will find better jobs," Mr. Romney said.
The crowd was warmed up by country star Rodney Atkins, whose song, "It's America," is a staple of political campaign rallies, and singer Sam Moore of the '60s duo Sam and Dave. Both performers struggled with technical difficulties connected with the rally's sound system.
Mr. Moore led the crowd in what seemed like an impromptu version of the Sam and Dave hit "Soul Man." He sang the lyrics and let the crowd sing "I'm a soul man."
President Obama was also in Ohio on Sunday, at the opposite end of the state, in Cincinnati with pop singer Stevie Wonder.
Ohio accounts for 18 of the nation's 538 electoral votes but has sucked up a much bigger proportion of the candidates' campaign time and spending in this campaign, and it's going to continue to the very end. Both have big rallies planned for Monday afternoon in Columbus.
A poll by The (Columbus) Dispatch released Sunday shows President Obama leading 50 percent to 48 percent in Ohio. The poll has a 2.2-percentage point margin of error, making the race a statistical tie.
The Obama campaign issued its statistical picture of Cuyahoga County to show how the count has benefited from Obama policies, and attacked Mr. Romney for his opposition to the 2009 auto bailout and his plan for a 20-percent across-the-board tax cut, while saying young adults will lose access to insurance on their parents’ plans when he repeals Obamacare.
"The President believes the only way to build an economy meant to last is to build it from the middle out, not the top down. That’s why the President is working to restore middle-class security by strengthening Medicare, saving the auto industry, cutting taxes for middle-class families, investing in local communities and education," a statement from the Obama campaign said.
The campaign said unemployment rate in Cuyahoga County has dropped from 9.2 percent in September, 2009, to 6.9 percent in September, 2012.
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