WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he understands the struggles of working families and has the know-how to fix them as he sought to counteract fallout from a secret video that President Barack Obama is highlighting in campaign ads.
"I care about the people of America. The difference between me and President Obama is I know what to do and I will do what it takes to get this economy going," Romney said to a standing ovation from supporters in this Columbus suburb.
Both men were spending the day in Ohio. Romney was here for a second straight day, traveling in a bus emblazoned with, "More Jobs, More Take-Home Pay." Obama was stopping at two college campuses.
Both candidates recognize how critical Ohio's 18 electoral votes will be come Election Day, Nov. 6. Losing the state would dramatically narrow Romney's path to the 270 Electoral College votes it takes to win the White House — and no Republican has ever lost Ohio and won the presidency.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, stood in front of a running national debt clock and cited his business background as evidence that he knows what it takes to drive economic success. Romney's appeal follows the Obama campaign's sustained effort to portray him as a ruthless corporate titan who killed jobs, as well as recent Obama campaign ads featuring video of the GOP nominee telling donors he doesn't need to worry about the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income taxes and "believe that they are victims."
Romney also released a 60-second television ad with a new, softer approach than the negative ads dominating the airways. It's unclear how much — if at all — the commercial will air on television, but it echoed Romney's compassionate pitch from the campaign trial. The candidate, in an open-collar shirt, speaks into the camera about the struggles of living to paycheck to paycheck and trying to pay for necessities like food and gas on falling incomes.