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Romney Takes Message To Key Battleground States


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Right now, we're in a lull between two big political storms. The Republican convention in Tampa ended on Thursday. The Democratic convention in Charlotte starts Tuesday. In between, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have both been traveling the country, rallying support.

In a moment, we'll have a report on the Obama campaign. First, here's NPR's Ari Shapiro, who's traveling with Mitt Romney.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: It's the opening weekend of college football. And in baseball, the Cincinnati Reds have the best record in the majors. So Romney decided to go with a sports metaphor in Cincinnati. He often says 23 million people are out of work, underemployed, or have stopped looking for a job.

MITT ROMNEY: 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.


SHAPIRO: He said it's time for America to see a winning season again. Romney is still riding a wave from his convention speech. In Cincinnati, he repeated a line that got a lot of applause Thursday night in Tampa.


ROMNEY: Now, he famously said that he was going to slow the rise of the oceans.


ROMNEY: And he was going to heal the planet. And our promise to you is this, we're going to help the American people and help the families of America.


SHAPIRO: Romney's tone at the convention was one of disappointment in his rival. He said he had hoped for a successful Obama presidency. But this weekend, the expressions of sadness were gone.

ROMNEY: We do not have to have the divisiveness and bitterness and recriminations we've seen over the last four years. I will bring us together. I'll...

SHAPIRO: Romney was joined by House speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who may not have gotten the anti-divisiveness memo.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: And, you know, while we've done all this good work in the House and done what the people have asked us to do, Harry Reid has blocked everything we've sent over there.


SHAPIRO: Reid is Senate majority leader, and a Democrat.

From Ohio, Romney flew to Jacksonville, Florida, to meet up again with his running mate Paul Ryan. Romney led the crowd in a chant in a sweltering plaza along the St. John's River.

ROMNEY: Romney-Ryan. Romney-Ryan. Romney-Ryan. That's quite a welcome, thank you. Thank you.

SHAPIRO: Romney is taking the rest of Labor Day weekend off. He's at his New Hampshire house with family. On Tuesday, he heads to Vermont for debate practice behind closed doors. He'll be joined by Ohio Senator Rob Portman, playing the role of President Obama in the mock debates.

Ari Shapiro, NPR News, traveling with the Romney campaign. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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