Sensing that Pennsylvania might be in play in Tuesday’s General Election, Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney took a campaign swing through Bucks County Sunday evening in an attempt to change the Keystone State from blue to red.
“This audience and your voices are being heard all over the nation,” Romney told the estimated 30,000 people gathered at Shady Brook Farm. “They’re being heard in my heart. The people of America understand we’re taking back the White House because we’re going to win Pennsylvania!” he said to a loud roar from the crowd that chanted, “Two more days. Two more days.”
With Philadelphia and Pittsburgh expected to vote solidly Democratic and the heartland of the state expected to go Republican Tuesday, Romney will have to win in the key swing-vote suburban counties ringing Philadelphia to tip Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes his way.
It’s a fact not lost on the Obama campaign, which is sending former President Bill Clinton to the Philadelphia area Monday to rally support in Blue Bell, Montgomery County, and in the city before heading to Scranton and Pittsburgh.
While polls are tightening in the Commonwealth, historically, it will be an uphill climb for Romney.
The last time Pennsylvania voted Republican in a Presidential Election was in 1988 when George H.W. Bush defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis. In the days just before that election, Dukakis rallied Bucks County voters at Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills.
One thing in Romney’s favor here is his strong support among Pennsylvania’s political leadership, which was evident at Sunday evening’s rally where a powerhouse of Republican politicians joined the Marshall Tucker Band in warming up the crowd for Romney’s arrival.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Gov. Tom Corbett, former Gov. Tom Ridge, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith and U.S. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick took turns at the podium, urging voters to pull the lever for Romney Tuesday.
As Corbett introduced “the next President of the United States,” a cheer erupted as Romney, with his wife, Ann, by his side, emerged from a large motor coach to throngs of cheering supporters who had waited patiently in the bone chilling cold for the moment.
“U.S.A., U.S.A.,” they chanted, as the Romneys made their way to the podium and the strains of the “Rocky” theme song filled the air.
“What a wonderful welcome you’ve given us and what energy you’ve given us to know that we can finish this race strong,” said Mrs. Romney, urging voters to get out to the polls Tuesday and cast their votes for her husband. “We are so excited about Tuesday and we’re so excited to be in Pennsylvania!”
Standing just a few miles away from the New Jersey border, the former Massachusetts Governor opened his remarks by lifting up people impacted by Hurricane Sandy, praising the work of the governors impacted by the storm and particularly singling out New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his handling of the tragedy.
“He’s giving it all of his heart and his passion to help the people of his state. They’re in a hard way, and we appreciate his hard work. Thank you, Governor,” he said.
This past week, the news was replete with hurricane coverage and images of Gov. Christie and President Barack Obama touring the devastation along the New Jersey shore and in Northern New Jersey.
But while Romney praised Gov. Christie, he was less complimentary of the job the President has done with the economy, job creation, deficit reduction and in reaching across the aisle on important issues.
“You hoped President Obama would live up to his promise to bring people together to solve big problems. But he hasn’t. I will,” he said to a thunderous cheer from the crowd.
“Four years ago, the President promised to do so very much, but he’s fallen so very short,” said Romney. “It’s because he cared more about the liberal agenda then he did about repairing the economy.”
The Governor said the President believes more government is the answer. “No, Mr. President. More good jobs. That’s the answer,” he said.
The Governor then asked the question, “Do you want four more years like the last four years or do you want real change?”
“President Obama promised change, but he didn’t deliver it,” he continued as the crowd chanted, “Send him home. Send him home.”
“He couldn’t deliver change. I not only promise change, but I have a record of achieving it,” said the former Massachusetts governor. “With a Democrat legislature I helped turn my state from deficit to surplus…from job losses to job growth, from higher taxes to higher take home pay.”
The rally was Romney’s third of the day after stops in Des Moines, Iowa and Cleveland, Ohio. Following his Bucks County rally it was off for to Newport News, Va., his fourth and final stop of the day. He will campaign in Ohio, Virginia, Florida and New Hampshire Monday.
President Obama will campaign in Madison, Wis., Columbus, Ohio, and Des Moines, Iowa Monday after making stops in New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio and Colorado Sunday.