Back on trail, Mitt Romney promises 'real change'

By Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 10:41 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a thumbs up as he arrives at a campaign stop in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. At rear on screen is a number for Red Cross donations for victims of superstorm Sandy.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Back on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney vowed Wednesday to deliver "real change" in Washington instead of just talking about it.

The comment was an indirect criticism of President Barack Obama as Romney faced an estimated 2,000 supporters at an airport hangar.

Romney did not use Obama's name in his remarks, a shift designed to soften his tone on the day Obama was scheduled to tour the storm-ravaged New Jersey coast with Gov. Chris Christie.

"I don't just talk about change," Romney said. "I actually have a plan to execute change and make it happen."

The Republican candidate also encouraged Floridians to donate "a dollar or two" to storm victims across the East Coast suffering from financial and personal loss.

A day after canceling some events, Romney planned to attend three rallies across Florida on Wednesday. But aides say the political balancing act is not over as much of the country is still focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

"We love all of our fellow citizens. We come together at times like this and we want to make sure that they have a speedy and quick recovery," Romney said. "People coming together is what's also going to happen, I believe, on Nov. 7," he added, referring to the day after Election Day.

The storm has created an air of uncertainty in Romney's Boston headquarters.

Aides report that their internal polling offers a better outlook than recent public polling that gives Obama an edge in some swing states, but they concede that the national distraction has frozen any momentum Romney had coming out of this month's debates.

At the same time, the campaign is sketching a schedule for the final days of the campaign. Both candidates are locked in a tight race with the election just six days away.

After a full day in Florida Wednesday, Romney is expected to campaign in Virginia on Thursday and Ohio on Friday after a brief stop in Wisconsin.

The campaign is planning to host an Ohio rally Friday evening to launch a four-day sprint to Election Day.

The Republican presidential nominee will join running mate Paul Ryan in suburban Cincinnati along with athletes, Republican officials and members of Romney's family. The guests are to include golf legend Jack Nicklaus, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Romney's campaign reports that the supporters will campaign in groups across the country through Monday, the day before the election. They are scheduled to visit 11 states: Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Romney's campaign would not say which of the states the candidate himself would visit.

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