“They’ve experienced the last four years, and they know if they reelect him they’ll get four more years of the same,” Romney told supporters gathered at the Village Green Park in this upscale suburb northwest of Columbus. “It is not his words that people have to listen to; it is his action and his record, and if they look at that, they’ll kick him out of the office and put people into the office that will actually get America going again.”
The message was part of a ramped-up effort by Romney and Ryan in recent days to appeal to voters hit by the country’s economic downturn. Ohio’s 7.3 percent unemployment rate is below the national average of 8.2 percent, but polling shows that economic recovery remains the top issue; 59 percent of likely Ohio voters ranked the economy as “extremely important” in a New York Times/CBS News/Quinnipiac University poll released this week.
Economic issues were also the focus of Romney’s weekly podcast, released Saturday morning, in which he noted that “in 44 states last month, the unemployment rate went up.”
Obama won Ohio by five percentage points in the 2008 general election, and if Romney is to win the state this November, he will need to energize voters in places such as Delaware County, where Powell is located; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried the county with 59 percent of the vote four years ago.
In seeking to draw a contrast between Obama and the GOP ticket, Romney and Ryan pointed to newly released economic data and seized on remarks made by the president on the campaign trail in recent weeks, as well as four years ago.
Ryan, who took the stage here before Romney, cited a report released this week by the firm Sentier Research showing that annual median household income has dropped more steeply during the economic recovery than during the recession itself.
“Family income — we just saw some new, really ugly statistics this morning about how the middle class has been hit so hard in the last three-and-a-half years,” Ryan said. “Family household incomes have gone down by more than $4,000 in the last four years. Under Mitt Romney’s leadership, when he was governor of Massachusetts, they went up by $5,000.”
He and Romney slammed Obama yet again for his “you didn’t build that” remark at a Roanoke, Va., campaign rally, and Ryan also reprised a line he has employed at recent campaign events in Pennsylvania and Michigan, telling the crowd that “this Catholic deer hunter is guilty as charged.”