Romney asks Wisconsin voters to pave path to White House
Republican nominee makes Friday campaign stop in West Allis
2:22 PM, Nov 2, 2012 |
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures as he speaks at a campaign event at Wisconsin Products Pavilion at State Fair Park, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, in West Allis, Wis. (AP Photo/David Goldman) / AP
WEST ALLIS — Trailing narrowly in most state polls, Republican nominee Mitt Romney asked supporters Friday to get the turnout he needs to carry Wisconsin and secure a path to the White House.
“The door to a brighter future is there, open, waiting for us,” Romney said to supporters who packed Products Pavilion at the State Fair Park in West Allis. “I need your vote, I need your help.
“Knock on those doors, get your friends to vote.”
With the election four days away, Romney made his pitch in what’s become one of the most important battleground states in the election.
The Romney campaign billed the West Allis trip as a “closing argument” speech. But with the presidential race in its final days, the election is less about winning people over and more about getting out the vote.
“There is not much time left for argument,” said Arnold Shober, an associate professor of government at Lawrence University in Appleton. “People who make up their minds have made them up. Undecided voters are dwindling, quite frankly. It’s about getting your supporters out to the polls.”
Romney did more in Wisconsin than ask people to get out the vote. He also drew distinctions between himself and President Barack Obama.
He said the economy and jobs situations will still be stagnant in January.
“(But) I won’t waste any time complaining about my predecessor,” Romney said. “I won’t spend my effort trying to pass partisan legislation that’s unrelated to economic growth. From Day One, I’ll go to work to help Americans get back to work.”
Romney said if Obama is re-elected, he’ll be unable to work with Congress.
“When I am elected, I’ll work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress,” Romney said. “I’ll meet regularly with their leaders. I’ll endeavor to find those good men and women on both sides of the aisle that care more about the country than about the politics.
“And together, we will put the nation on track to a balanced budget, to reform our tax code, and to finally reaffirm our commitment to financial responsibility.”
Romney said gasoline costs twice today than it did when Obama took office.
“When I am elected, we will change course on energy,” he said. “I know just how much energy means to middle-class income families across the country. We can help hold down prices at the pump and grow new energy jobs and manufacturing jobs.”
Romney had planned to visit Wisconsin on Monday but he, and Obama, put campaigns on hold while Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast. Obama canceled a Tuesday event in Green Bay.
For both candidates, the trips were worth rescheduling. Obama moved his Green Bay stop to Thursday and plans to follow up with visits to Milwaukee on Saturday and Madison on Monday.
Romney’s appearance in West Allis was his first in the state since Aug. 12, when he appeared with Paul Ryan of Janesville — the day after he announced the Republican congressman would be his running mate.
But Ryan has been an active front-man for the campaign in Wisconsin, appearing all over the state in recent weeks and holding public events and fundraisers.
“Neither side is resting in Wisconsin,” said Shober. “They are coming here again and again and again.”
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson said people have questioned the enthusiasm of voters in Wisconsin.
“All they have to do is just inhale the air here and they know we are on the track to win Wisconsin,” he said.
When state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, asked the West Allis crowd who had voted early, a sea of hands shot up.
Romney’s message connected with the supporters who came to see him in West Allis. They chanted “four more days.”
“I’ve always supported him, even in the primaries,” said Rose Kolbeck of Mequon. “This country really needs a shot in the arm right now. Governor Romney has the whole package to bring it together with his business experience.”
Lorraine Schmidt of Brookfield has been volunteering in a Romney campaign office, working the phones nearly every day.
“I think the momentum is coming our way,” Schmidt said. “We’ve been calling and trying to get them to vote early. It’s surprising how many people are doing it now.”
Schmidt thinks there will be a large turnout for Romney on election day.
Richard Hays of Milwaukee said he voted for Romney and Ryan last week.
“I have no regrets for doing that,” Hays said. “I want to see these two gentleman elected president and vice president.”
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Oshkosh, reminded the crowd in West Allis that 535 votes decided the Florida election.
“I truly believe that this election will be decided right here in Wisconsin, right here in Milwaukee County, right here in Milwaukee,” he said.
Romney is behind in most Wisconsin polls.
A Rasmussen Reports on Thursday had Obama and Romney tied at 49 percent. But most other polls show Obama in the lead. A Wisconsin Public Radio/St. Norbert Poll released Thursday showed Obama 9 points ahead and a Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday showed Obama with an eight-point lead.
Shober said a Wisconsin win is critical to Romney, because if can win here and in one or two other states, he can take the Electoral College without Ohio, where most polls show Obama leading.
“But if he loses Ohio and Wisconsin, it’s pretty much impossible,” Shober said.
After Wisconsin’s event, Romney planned to travel to West Chester, Ohio, for a rally with Ryan.