Although the economy has been and will continue to be THE issue in this campaign, Mitt Romney is making certain every wing of the Republican party knows he is there for them as he bounces around the Battlegrounds. The Washington Post catches up with him in Ohio:
A feisty Mitt Romney returned to the campaign trail here Monday with sharp new attacks against President Obama over cuts to the defense budget and the stubborn unemployment rate in a deliberate effort to win over moderate voters.
With Obama opening a lead over Romney in the final two months of the long — and long-deadlocked — presidential race, Romney is trying at once to appeal to the nation’s moderate middle and to stir the passions of his more strident conservative base. On Friday, Romney campaigned alongside one of Washington’s most conservative firebrands, Rep. Steve King, in King’s staunchly evangelical Iowa district. The next day, Romney addressed a Virginia Beach rally just moments after Pat Robertson, the venerable and sometimes inflammatory televangelist, took a turn onstage. The Obama campaign said Romney was “pandering to the most extreme voices in his party.”
Yet there Romney was Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” praising Democratic former president Bill Clinton and sounding a softer, more conciliatory tone on the issue of health care. Although he said he would work to repeal “Obamacare,” Romney said there were aspects of Obama’s health-care overhaul that he would keep, such as ensuring that people with preexisting conditions have access to health insurance coverage.
And here in Ohio on Monday, Romney seized on the looming cuts to the nation’s defense budget — which he said would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and endanger national security — and on poor economic indicators, such as the unemployment rate and the rising number of Americans on food stamps, to sow doubts about Obama among undecided voters. Romney said Obama, who spoke extensively in his convention speech about what he has done to help middle-class families struggling through the economic recession, did not talk specifically about the unemployment rate, which stands at 8.1 percent, or the 47 million Americans now on food stamps.
Later, addressing an overflow crowd in Mansfield, Romney asked supporters, “You remember at his convention four years ago that [Obama] was going to slow the rise of the oceans and he was going to also heal the planet? Well, I’m here to heal the American people, to help the American people, to help them to get good jobs. . . . I want to help more people to fulfill their dreams and build great enterprises and put people to work. And I want to heal our economy.” Campaign advisers said Romney talked about defense cuts and economic data specifically to appeal to amenable voters.