Final push for the presidency

By David Skolnick


Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, made a final pitch to the Democratic- dominated Mahoning Valley to vote today for him and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

At a cold Monday night rally at Winner Aviation at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna Township with about 1,550 people in attendance, Ryan said: “Were not just picking a president for four more years. It’s a serious time, and we need serious leadership.”

Ryan spoke for only 11 minutes, using a healthy dose of cliches to describe the last moments of the presidential election, including, “It’s the final countdown,” “We have the momentum,” “Let’s get this done,” and “Let’s leave it all on the field.”

Ryan emphasized the importance of Ohio in this election.

“As Ohio goes, so goes America,” he said twice.

Ryan criticized President Barack Obama for his policies, including the federal stimulus package. He praised Romney for working with Democrats when he was governor of Massachusetts.

“We can do a lot better than we’re doing now,” he said.

It was the third visit to the Valley as the Republican vice-presidential nominee by Ryan, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Janesville, Wis.

It was Ryan’s fourth of five stops Monday — the day before Election Day today — that started in Reno, Nev. From there, he went to Johnstown, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Vienna; and ended in Milwaukee, Wis., near his hometown.

Ohio and the four other states are considered key swing states in a very close presidential election between Romney and Obama.

Mahoning and Trumbull counties are longtime Democratic strongholds. But Republicans are looking to keep Obama under 60 percent of the vote in those counties. The last time that happened was in 1984 when Republican President Ronald Reagan easily won re-election in 1984 over Democrat Walter Mondale.

Romney spent Monday warning voters of another recession if Obama is re-elected.

“The same course we’re on isn’t going to lead to a better destination. The same course we’re on is going to lead to $20 billion in debt,” Romney told a cheering crowd of more than 8,000 people at George Mason University’s Patriot Center arena in Fairfax, Va. “Unless we change course, we also may be looking at another recession.”

Romney was rallying voters across four swing states and urging them to vote Tuesday.

“Look, we have one job left, and that’s to make sure that on Election Day, we make certain that everybody that’s qualified to vote gets out to vote,” Romney told the thousands gathered inside an airplane hangar at Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida at the first of his five campaign rallies. “We need every single vote in Florida.”

Supporters in the Florida crowd waved signs that said “Vote for love of country,” a response to Obama’s instruction to supporters that voting is the “best revenge.” A second stop in Lynchburg, Va., featured an enormous “Get Out and Vote” banner.

The Florida rally would have been the beginning of Romney’s last and longest day of campaigning, a sprint through Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire, from morning until a late-night rally in Manchester that originally was billed as his last hurrah. But in the afternoon, Romney’s team announced a last-minute Election Day push that will take him to Cleveland and Pittsburgh for get-out-the-vote efforts before he returns to Boston to await the outcome.

Ohio is critical battleground that Romney has visited again and again — but one where polls show a race with Obama that’s stubbornly close. Romney all but ignored Pennsylvania until the final week of the campaign, as Republicans poured millions onto previously empty airwaves in a bid to expand the map.

The Election Day campaign events mimic Obama, who campaigned in Indiana on Election Day in 2008. He ultimately the state, which typically backed Republicans for president. A spokeswoman said Obama would not campaign Tuesday, but would remain in Chicago and reach out to swing-state voters through a series of television and radio interviews.

But while Indiana’s 11 electoral college votes were a nice addition to Obama’s 365-vote Electoral College landslide, Romney has been banking on Ohio to carry him over the finish line in what’s been a fluid but close-fought contest.

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