Romney, Santorum Rally in NE Ohio

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND, Ohio

Hundreds of excited Republicans packed the Cole Center on the campus of Cleveland State University Friday night for a rally for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

“Mitt, Mitt, Mitt,” the excited crowd shouted as Romney and his wife, Ann, entered the room.

Romney is campaigning hard in preparation for Super Tuesday when 10 states including Ohio will hold their primaries.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie was supposed to attend the “Believe in America” event but bad weather grounded his plane.

The Romneys also had a rough trip, but nothing could stop them from campaigning in the Buckeye State this close to the election.

“Ohio is important, and Tuesday is an important day. It’s going to get us one step closer to defeating Barack Obama,” said Ann Romney.

After trailing in the polls by double digits behind former PA Senator Rick Santorum in recent days, Romney has closed the gap. Now, only a few points separate the two candidates.

Some political analysts think winning the Buckeye State will almost certainly clinch the nomination for Romney.

Ohio is an important swing state with 66 delegates up for grabs. No Republican has won the White House without carrying the state.

If Romney wins Tuesday, many significant donors could throw their support and money behind his campaign.

Also going into Tuesday, Romney has an advantage. According to Ryan Williams with Romney’s campaign staff, “In three of the state’s 18 congressional districts, including two that are near Ohio’s border with Pennsylvania, Santorum will lose any delegates he might have won because his campaign failed to meet the state’s eligibility requirements months ago. Those three districts alone take nice delegates out of a total of 66 off the table for Santorum.”

But during the rally, Romney did not focus on Santorum. Instead, he outlined his goals for this country. He said he wants to restore pride in America, balance the budget, lower taxes, increase military spending, create jobs, eliminate 'Obamacare' and enforce fair, free trade with other nations while cracking down on countries who 'cheat' the system like China.

Romney says, “President Obama is out of ideas, out of excuses and in November, he’s out of office.”

During a sit down interview Mr. Romney also pledged to help Ohioans.

He said, “This is the center of manufacturing, and I’ve been in the private sector. I’m going to do my best to get jobs in Ohio and rising incomes again.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------

EASTLAKE, Ohio --

"We need someone who has a track record, who’s gone down to Washington and shaken things up,” Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum told a crowd of supporters at the American-Croation Lodge in Eastlake Friday night.

About 1,000 people rallied around his message of freedom.

"What America's always been about, limited government and free people and folks here taking care of ourselves and building great institutions here in Cleveland. The Cleveland Clinic, you think the Cleveland Clinic would exist if government ran the healthcare for the last hundred years? No!" Santorum said, drumming up laughter and cheers from the audience.

Those in attendance said they stand by Santorum’s conservative values and believe in his character.

"It's the pro-life issue that attracts me most,” said Jacqui Fetsko, the Executive Director of Lake County Right to Life.  “And he is more fiscally conservative and I trust him."

"I think he's for the people. He's not really throwing mud,” said Rick DeMore of Mentor-On-The-Lake.  “He seems to be the guy to follow."

Off stage, Santorum went into greater detail about his plan to repeal ObamaCare in an interview with Fox 8 News.

"I think that people realize that it’s a huge government power grab.  More than anything else it's gonna hurt the economy, it’s gonna increase taxes, increase regulation.  But it’s government taking away from you, your freedom, and telling you what kind of healthcare you’re going to have and what you’re going to pay,” he said.

Santorum also said he understands the challenges northeast Ohioans have experienced.

"They've been through a tough time for a long time and I've been through it with them.  We're trying to provide some hope and some opportunities for this area of the country."

Santorum is scheduled to take his campaign to Cuyahoga Falls on Monday where he’ll rally at the Pavilion at Falls River Square at 7 p.m.