(MCT) — MORRISVILLE, Pa. — Trying to quilt together a patchwork of states that would give him the White House, Mitt Romney ricocheted around the country Sunday, arguing that he represented true change and that re-electing President Barack Obama would mean continuing chronic unemployment, high energy prices and increased dependence on government.
Romney said Obama had promised much but has fallen “so very short.”
“Talk is cheap, but a record is real and it’s measured in achievements,” the Republican nominee said at a rally in a farm field. “The president thinks big government is the answer. No, Mr. President, more good jobs, that’s the answer.”
At that, tens of thousands of people who had gathered for the rally began chanting: “Send him home!”
The Romney appearance in the suburb of Philadelphia was his first in Pennsylvania since September, when he visited a military college. His wife, Ann, and his running mate, Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., have appeared here more recently. Ryan visited on on Saturday.
Campaign officials hoped that Romney’s appearance, and Republicans’ recent ad spending, would turn a state that Obama handily won in 2008.
Aside from one poll that shows the race tied, all other recent surveys show Obama comfortably holding on to Pennsylvania. But a win for Romney would offset a loss in Ohio — where Obama has held onto a steady, if extremely narrow, lead in polls — or losses in a collection of less-populated states such as Wisconsin, Nevada and Iowa.
Though Romney has largely ignored Pennsylvania in recent months, his spokesman argued that his visit less than 48 hours before Election Day was perfectly timed because the state did not have early voting.
“It’s a remarkable juxtaposition here that Mitt Romney will be in the suburbs of Philadelphia today and, you know, four years ago, Barack Obama was in Indiana,” senior adviser Ed Gillespie said on ABC’s “This Week”, referring to the Republican-dominated state that Obama won in 2008. “When you look at where this map has gone, it reflects the change and the direction and the momentum toward Gov. Romney. ... The map has expanded.”
Democrats countered that the appearance in Pennsylvania, which has gone Democratic for two decades, was one of desperation as Romney grasped for a path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
“They understand they are in deep trouble,” Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said on “Fox News Sunday.” “They’re looking for somewhere, desperately looking for somewhere to try to dislodge some electoral votes to win this election, and I can tell you, that’s not going to happen.”
Romney also campaigned Sunday in front of large crowds in Iowa and Ohio, where polling shows Obama holds a slim edge. He scheduled a late-night rally in Virginia, where the race appears to be even.
A Des Moines Register poll released Saturday showed the president ahead by 5 points in Iowa. But Republicans noted that the same poll four years ago overstated Obama’s support in the state, which he won by nearly 10 points.
In addition to six electoral votes, Iowa holds symbolic significance for both candidates: Its first-in-the-nation caucuses launched Obama’s bid in 2008 and was difficult for Romney in 2008 and this year.
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said while introducing Romney GOP nominee in Des Moines that the state that made Obama would take him down.
“Iowans feel betrayed. Almost a sense of — not only disappointed, but almost a sense of betrayal that our principles of sound budgeting and responsible government have been ignored by this administration for four straight years,” Branstad said, adding: “It’s time for a change. It’s time for you to go back to Chicago.”