Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

November 2, 2012

Romney & Obama: I’m the real candidate of change

DOSWELL, Va. — Five days before the election, Republican challenger Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama vied forcefully for the mantle of change Thursday in a country thirsting for it after a painful recession and uneven recovery, pressing intense closing arguments in their unpredictably close race for the White House. Early voting topped 22 million ballots.

Republicans launched a late push in Pennsylvania, long viewed as safe for Obama. The party announced a $3 million advertising campaign that told voters who backed the president four years ago, “it’s OK to make a change.” Romney and running mate Paul Ryan both announced weekend visits to the state.

A three-day lull that followed Superstorm Sandy ended abruptly, the president campaigning briskly across three battleground states and Romney piling up three stops in a fourth. The Republican also attacked with a tough new Spanish-language television ad in Florida showing Venezuela’s leftist leader, Hugo Chavez, and Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela, saying they would vote for Obama.

The storm intruded once again into the race, as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed the president in a statement that said Sandy, which devastated his city, could be evidence of climate change.

Of the two White House rivals, Bloomberg wrote, “One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.”

The ever-present polls charted a close race for the popular vote, and a series of tight battleground surveys suggested neither man could be confident of success in the competition for the 270 electoral votes that will decide the winner.

The presidential race aside, the two parties battled for control of the Senate in a series of 10 or more competitive campaigns. The possibility of a 50-50 tie loomed, or even a more unsettled outcome if former Gov. Angus King of Maine, an independent, wins a three-way race and becomes majority-maker.

Obama’s aides left North Carolina off the president’s itinerary in the campaign’s final days, a decision that Republicans trumpeted as a virtual concession of the state.

Yet Romney’s team omitted Ohio and Wisconsin from a list of battlegrounds where they claimed narrow advantage.

The Republican National Committee ad in Pennsylvania aired earlier in other areas of the country. Far less aggressive than many of the GOP attacks on the president, it said Obama took office promising economic improvement  but had failed to deliver. “He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change,” says the announcer.

Republicans said the decision for Romney and Ryan to campaign in the state reflected late momentum, while Democrats said it was mere desperation.

Romney and his allies also made late investments in Minnesota and Michigan, states that went comfortably for Obama in 2008 but poll much closer four years later.

In a possible boost for Obama, government and private sources churned out a spate of encouraging snapshots on the economy, long the dominant issue in the race. Reports on home prices, worker productivity, auto sales, construction spending, manufacturing and retail sales suggested the recovery was picking up its pace, and a measurement of consumer confidence rose to its highest level since February of 2008, nearly five years ago.

Still, none of the day’s measurements packed the political significance of the campaign’s final report on unemployment, due out Friday. Joblessness was measured at 7.8 percent in September, falling below 8 percent for the first time since Obama took office.

Unemployment alone explained the competition to be the candidate of change, the slogan Obama memorably made his own in 2008 and struggles to hold now.

“Real Change On Day One,” read a huge banner at Romney’s first appearance of the day, in Roanoke, Va., and the same on a sign on the podium where he spoke in Doswell.

“This is a time for greatness. This is a time for big change, for real change,” said the former Massachusetts governor, a successful businessman who says his background gives him the know-how to enact policies that will help create jobs. “I’m going to make real changes. I’m going to get this economy going, from day one we’re making changes.”

He and his running mate also poked at Obama’s proposal to create a Department of Business by merging several existing agencies, including the Commerce Department, and the Republican campaign released a television ad on the subject.

“I don’t think adding a new chair in his Cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street,” jabbed Romney.

To dramatize his economy-based appeal, the Republican challenger also stopped by Bill’s Barbecue, a decades-old restaurant in Richmond that closed its doors during the long recession. Walking inside past the “Do Not Enter” signs, he asked owner Rhoda Elliott what had happened.

“Usually when we have a small hiccup in the economy, they go from the white cloth, which is Morton’s and those, and then they — we’re the next step, and so we usually fare pretty good. But this one lasted so long they went down the next step, and that’s where it is right now,” said Elliott.

“Yeah. Yeah. Taco Bell,” Romney interjected, offering an example of a more down-market option.

Obama seemed intent on making up for lost campaign time after a three-day turn as hands-on commander of the federal response to Sandy, although aides stressed he remained in touch with the administration’s point man, FEMA Director Craig Fugate, and local officials.

One day after touring storm-battered New Jersey with Republican Gov. Chris Christie, he walked off Air Force One in Green Bay, Wis., wearing a leather bomber jacket bearing the presidential seal and promptly lit into Romney.

In the campaign’s final weeks, his rival “has been using all his talents as a salesman to dress up” policies that led to the nation’s economic woes. “And he is offering them up as change,” Obama said.

“What the governor is offering sure ain’t change.  Giving more power back to the biggest banks isn’t change.  Leaving millions without health insurance isn’t change.  Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy isn’t change.  Turning Medicare into a voucher is change, but we don’t want that change,” he said.

The president’s campaign went up with a new ad featuring Collin Powell endorsing the president. “I think we ought to keep on the track we’re on,” says the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who was secretary of state under President George W. Bush.

Officials said the ad would run in 10 states, including Minnesota, one of the states where Romney and his GOP allies launched late advertising.

A separate Obama commercial had a more limited exposure — and a harsher message. Aimed at voters in Michigan and Ohio, it cites independent fact-checkers and top executives from Chrysler and General Motors to rebut Romney’s recent ads that suggest auto jobs are moving to China from the United States.

Both campaigns invested heavily in early voting, and more than 3.1 million had already been cast in Florida alone. None will be counted until Election Day.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • AP600421099 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, April 21, 2014

    Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Valdosta runners return to Boston Marathon

    Americans held their breaths a year ago while watching the news. Panic and confusion filled the streets of Boston as participants of the city’s prestigious marathon scrambled to safety after the detonation of two bombs.

    April 21, 2014

  • Ga. online tuition dropping

    Jenni Small has good reason for avoiding 8 a.m. world literature classes at Dalton State College in northern Georgia. The 23-year-old works night shifts as an operator for carpet manufacturer Shaw while finishing her bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
    Instead of heading straight to class from work, she uses eCore — an online system that focuses on “core” classes that every Georgia state college or university student must take — for 1 or 2 courses each semester.

    April 21, 2014

  • Space Robot_Rich copy.jpg NASA’s Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nepal Everest Avalanc_Rich copy.jpg Another body pulled from snow in avalanche

    Search teams recovered a 13th body Saturday from the snow and ice covering a dangerous climbing pass on Mount Everest, where an avalanche a day earlier swept over a group of Sherpa guides in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry

    After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers on Sunday finally found a way into a submerged ferry off South Korea’s southern shore, discovering more than a dozen bodies inside the ship and pushing the confirmed death toll to 49, officials said.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP450420090 copy.jpg Today in History for Sunday, April 20, 2014

    Today is Easter Sunday, April 20, the 110th day of 2014. There are 255 days left in the year.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lakeland hospital, convalescent home getting new owner

    The Hospital Authority of Valdosta & Lowndes County,  d/b/a South Georgia Medical Center (Hospital Authority), has entered into a definitive agreement with Lanier Health Services, Inc. to transfer ownership of Lanier Health Services, Inc. d/b/a Louis Smith Memorial Hospital and Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center effective May 1, 2014.

    April 20, 2014

  • Lowndes commissioner certified

    Lowndes County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall earned his certification as a county commissioner from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

    April 20, 2014

  • Brooks urges deep-dug pipeline

    Brooks County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution earlier this month encouraging Sabal Trail to bury its proposed natural gas pipeline two feet deeper than the three-feet requirements.

    April 20, 2014

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results