Tim Kubick / For the Lantern
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney entered his final Columbus stop Monday, the day before Election Day, in an airplane.
Romney spoke to a packed crowd at his “victory rally” at Landmark Aviation near the Port Columbus Airport about the fate of America if President Barack Obama is re-elected for a second term and painted his own plan for a better America. He said Obama promised change he did not create, and “accomplishing real change isn’t something I just talk about, but something I’ve already done and something I will continue to do as president of the United States with your help.”
Introducing the Republican candidate was a tearful Ann Romney, who spoke about her husband’s, and her own, campaign journey.
“This has been an experience of a lifetime to go across country and get to know the American people. It’s been humbling and a blessing in our life,” Ann Romney said.
She also praised the role American women have played in the 2012 election and the importance of their place in educating America to a brighter future.
Mitt Romney promised that if he takes office, instead of “(wasting) time complaining about his predecessor,” he will “spend effort trying to pass nonpartisan legislature” relating to jobs and growth with his five-part plan.
He said he would take full advantage of energy resources including coal, gas and oil and increase drilling permits on federal lands and waters and advocate for the approval to open the Keystone pipeline in Canada to America.
The candidate said he would also fight unfair trade practices by “designating China as a currency manipulator” that needs to “play by the rules.”
Mitt Romney said he plans to train every worker with the skills needed to obtain a good job through better access to higher education. His fourth step is to fight to lower the national deficit and cut national spending by at least 5 percent.
The final step in Mitt Romney’s five-step plan is to help small businesses by ending Obamacare and launching reviews of the regulations put in place by Obama that, he said, are killing jobs in America.
“For the first time in four years, every entrepreneur, every small business person, every job creator knows that the president and the government of the United States likes them and likes the jobs they create,” he said.
After speaking to the audience about his five-part plan, Mitt Romney warned about the effects of “another four years like the last four years” and declared himself and his running mate, Paul Ryan, the change American needed to see.
“If you believe we can do better and if you believe that America can be on a better course, if you’re tired of being tired, then I ask you to work and to vote for change,” he said.
Guests The Marshall Tucker Band, Olympic gold medalist in figure skating Scott Hamilton and Ohio-born golfer Jack Nicklaus joined Mitt Romney.
Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich also spoke at the Republican Party’s victory rally, and said the upcoming presidential election is about giving America’s children “a chance to fly and realize all of their dreams” and sustaining America as a world leader.
“Other countries don’t like to admit it, but they look up for America’s leadership,” Kasich said. “They want us to be strong. If we’re not strong economically, it becomes harder and harder for us to bring righteousness and goodness to the rest of the world.”
Nicklaus spoke about his relationship with former President Gerald Ford, who he said he played golf with and maintained a close friendship. He said that Ford once asked him to help with his campaign and he declined.
After Ford lost Ohio by 5,000 votes in 1978, Nicklaus vowed to not make the same mistake twice and allow Romney to go defeated without his help.
“Mitt Romney has the record and is the man who restored the American dream,” Nicklaus said. “When Mitt called and asked for help I said, ‘You can count on me.”
Though the name of the event was “victory rally,” some people in the audience weren’t so confident on the immediacy of the victory they were celebrating. Columbus resident Christine Murray, 45, said she wasn’t sure of the possibility of naming a president on Election Day but still held high hopes for a Romney victory.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as 2000, but I think it’s going to be close,” Murray said. “Everybody’s much more enthused this year than in 2008. The Republicans are enthused just like the Democrats were last time.”
Obama was also in Columbus Monday for a final campaign event before Election Day. He held a rally at Nationwide Arena with Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, and Bruce Springsteen. The event brought out a crowd of 15,500.
According to The Dispatch Poll in The Columbus Dispatch, the numbers are still close between Obama and Romney. As of Nov. 4, Obama is leading Ohio 50 percent to Romney’s 48 percent with a 2.2 percent margin of error.
And earlier version of this story state The Tucker Marshall Band performed at Romney’s rally. In fact, The Marshall Tucker Band performed.