JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney revved up an estimated crowd of 5,000 at the Jacksonville Landing Saturday afternoon in a short speech that wrapped up around 5 p.m.
SLIDESHOW OF THE JACKSONVILLE LANDING RALLY
"I'm going to do five things to get this economy roaring back to life," Romney said after his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan and Ann Romney warmed up the audience. Romney said taking advantage of our domestic resources is one of the keys, claiming we could have energy independence in eight years.
MORE CAMPAIGN COVERAGE AT POLITICAL FLORIDA
"We're going to repeal and replace Obama care," said Romney as he rattled off the list that included fixing schools. "We're going to create 12 million jobs over these next four years. Not just because you want it but because you deserve it."
He reminded Florida voters they are critical to a Romney-Ryan win in November.
Romney asked the crowd to each find one person who voted for Obama in 2008 and said they could be found because "on their cars you see the glue from where the bumper sticker used to be."
Paul Ryan kicked off the rally around 4:30 saying "we are an exceptional nation because of what we have done for ourselves." He said it was time for a change in the White House, "this man and this moment is made for our history," said Ryan referring to Romney.
Betty Hayes, a life long Republican, has been looking forward to Jacksonville's rally.
"We are working hard, you know, trying to get as many people to vote for our candidates so we can have change in our government," said Hayes from the Duval Republican headquarters where on Friday she was making Romney-Ryan buttons.
President Obama recently campaigned in Jacksonville and is expected back before the election according to staff on the ground in Florida
"We found the whole Jacksonville metro area is really a swing market now for Florida which is exciting for us," said Scott Arceneaux, Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party.
Earlier in the day Romney was in Cincinnati. As Ryan watched the Ohio State and Miami University kick off their football seasons in Ohio, Romney began the second full day as the Republican nominee in the state stressing the importance of promises kept and teamwork.
With an "America's Comeback Team" banner behind him and the American and Ohio state flags hanging above his head -- and flanked by hometown pols House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman -- Romney said he prepared for his convention speech by reading addresses given by other politicians, including the inaugural address of President Obama.
Romney's stump speech in Cincinnati was almost identical to the one he delivered Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville.
"One of the promises he made was he was going to create more jobs and today there are 23 million people are out of work or have stopped looking for work or underemployed," Romney said. "Let me tell you if you have a coach that's zero and 23 million, you say it's time to get a new coach. It's time for America to see a winning season again and we are going to bring it to them."
The coaching analogy was given in Jacksonville and Cincinnati.
The campaign was scheduled to kick off in Virginia on Friday, but Romney detoured to New Orleans to view damage caused by Hurricane Isaac.
Before his remarks to the Ohio crowd, Romney, Portman and Boehner visited an overflow room for those that could not get into the main venue.
"What are we going do with Barack Obama on Election Day? Throw him out!" Boehner said. "It's time to put a real leader with real courage in the White House: Mitt Romney!"
The Obama campaign shot back at Romney, saying his policies would hurt the middles class voters here was trying to appeal to here.
"Mitt Romney spoke a lot about promises in Cincinnati today, but here are his promises to the middle class: a $2,000 tax hike for the average middle class family with kids to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, turning Medicare into a voucher system, and deep cuts to critical investments in education and infrastructure," said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith in a statement.
Romney's day will end in New Hampshire where he has no scheduled events through the rest of the holiday weekend.
Romney adviser Kevin Madden said Romney would spend Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - the same days as the Democratic convention in Charlotte - preparing for the upcoming presidential debate.
He did not rule out that public events could also be scheduled at a later date.
Portman, who played President Obama in Sen. John McCain's debate prep four years ago, will join Romney in Reading, Vermont at former Massachusetts Lt. governor Kerry Healey's home.
The first of the three presidential debates will take place on October 3.
First Coast News and USA TODAY