CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio --
On the eve of Ohio’s primary election, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum held his last rally and public event before for the big day.
More than 500 people packed the Pavilion on Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls to hear their candidate speak.
Chuck Reisinger was first in line. “I just like his views overall.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine introduced the former Pennsylvania senator, and called him the only real conservative candidate on the ticket.
Many in attendance agreed. “I just feel like he’s solid,” said Suzan Barbey.
Steve Cupp added, “I feel his values and mine line up pretty well. I like his conservative stance.”
During the half-hour speech, with several of his children by his side, Santorum called himself the true “grassroots” candidate, and referred to his closest competition, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, as part of the “establishment.”
Santorum also said his overall plan for America is better than Romney’s, and cited a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
“Our plan was called bold by the WSJ compared to the governor they called timid,” said Santorum.
Recent polls show Romney and Santorum are running nearly a dead heat in the Buckeye State, with only a few points between them.
Santorum said if he’s elected president, he will open the keystone pipeline, reduce big government and eliminate Obamacare
“I’ll fight for freedom, fight for the liberty that’s at stake because of Obamacare,” said Santorum.
Even if Santorum wins Ohio, he will not receive all of her 66 delegates.
A filing error in approximately half a dozen districts could cost him 18 delegates, but the former senator didn’t seem concerned with that Monday night.
He was focused on the election and encouraged people to contact their friends on Twitter, Facebook and through email to get them to the polls.
He said, “We’ve got a plan to give everybody the opportunity to rise in society and fulfill their dreams because that’s what Americas all about.”
CANTON, Ohio --
Mitt Romney hit the campaign trail early and hard on Monday in an effort to prevail against Rick Santorum, his chief rival in Ohio’s primary.
Dressed in jeans and an open-collared shirt, Romney made no mention of the other candidates he’ll be facing on Super Tuesday.
In Canton, he and his wife Ann spoke to a crowd at Gregory Industries, a steel company that specializes in highway safety products.
The candidate praised the family owned business as being successful because of its focus on core customers.
He accused President Obama of losing focus, especially where the economy was concerned.
“When our president came into office, there was one key job in front of him, and that was to get this economy going, and put people back to work,” Romney told the crowd. “But instead of focusing his energy on that topic, he instead went off on a whole series of other things he wanted to do. He put in place Obamacare and didn't get people back to work, he pushed for Dodd-Frank; 2,000 pages of regulation for the banking industry that didn't put people back to work," said the candidate.
In Youngstown, Romney applauded manufacturing company Taylor Winfield Technologies for the kind of innovation and creativity that leads to the creation of jobs.
“My message to Mahoning Valley is pretty straightforward, I want to bring good jobs back here, I want to see rising incomes again, I want to see us confident that the future is brighter than the past,” he told a warehouse full of onlookers.
Romney appeared folksy and funny as he introduced his wife of 42 years to the crowd.
“I introduce to you the heavyweight fighter of my life … I don’t mean weight,” he said laughing, “That didn’t come out right.”
Romney described his wife as a mother to their five children, a fighter who beat breast cancer while continuing to battle Multiple Sclerosis. She, in turn, introduced Romney as the man who could bring prosperity back to a nation plagued by high unemployment.
“We have a moral responsibility to our children to stop the spending in Washington, she said as she introduced “The Next President of the United States.”
The candidate took questions from the audience about his position on education, social security and rising healthcare costs for military families.
“The idea that somehow our veterans are the place we should focus cuts makes no sense to me at all,” he told the crowd.
He also reminded the audience of his background in business.
It was a message that resonated with many in the crowd, including the business minded like Robert Earl Saffold, President of Ohio’s Minority Contractors Association.
“Businesses create jobs, and Mr. Romney’s proven he’s a job creator, and that’s why I’m leaning towards him,” said Saffold.
Sixty-three delegates are up for grabs in Ohio; a win would represent a symbolic victory for the candidate who prevails in Tuesday’s race.
“If you think this campaign against President Obama is going to be about the economy and jobs and government being too big, then I’m the guy you need to nominate,” said Romney.
He closed by telling the crowd, “Give me your vote tomorrow!”
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