CINCINNATI — Mitt Romney unveiled a retooled stump speech here as he launched a two-day Ohio campaign swing.

Romney cast the election as a “big choice” between what he called his and Rep. Paul Ryan’s “real, big change” and the “status quo path” that Obama would continue leading the country down.

“This is a critical time for our country and the choice of paths we chose will have an enormous impact,” Romney said. He ticked through poor-performing schools, rising debt and stubborn joblessness and added, “These challenges are big challenges. This election is therefore a big choice. And America wants to see big changes and we’re gonna bring big changes to get America stronger again.”  

Although Romney’s crowd of about 3,000 was smaller than many of the other rallies he has staged this week, the throng of people packed inside a Cincinnati warehouse was electric. Every time Romney spoke of “big change” – a phrase he used at least a half dozen times — his supporters were nearly deafening with their screams, which underscores the growing enthusiasm among Republicans for his candidacy.

Both campaigns acknowledge that the race in Ohio has tightened this month, but Obama still holds a lead in most polls, even though in some it is statistically insignificant because it is within the margin of error.