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WND EXCLUSIVE

Romney playing for keeps on Obama's turf

Top campaign strategist: 'There's no bluffing now'

TRAVELING WITH THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN – Mitt Romney is campaigning in Wisconsin today because he thinks he can win the state that Barack Obama won by nearly 14 points in 2008, says top Romney strategist Stuart Stevens.

“There’s no bluffing in this game now,” Stevens told WND.

With Romney scheduling rallies in the final days of the campaign in Pennsylvania as well as Wisconsin, top strategists have concluded Obama is now on the defensive. The president has been forced to re-visit states and spend money in an expanding list of swing states.

At the rally in Milwaukee today, legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker introduced Romney.

Romney spoke to a crowd of some 2,500 supporters who gathered inside a window manufacturer’s warehouse at the Wisconsin Products Pavilion at the State Fair Park. Another 2,500 supporters could not get into the building and watched from a large outdoor TV screen.

“This state will help me become the next president of the United States,” he told the enthusiastic crowd.

It’s a message similar to one he has delivered to supporters in Ohio.

“Next to Ann Romney, Paul Ryan is the best choice I ever made,” Romney quipped, acknowledging to the Wisconsin audience that his vice presidential running mate is a native of the state.

“We are so very grateful to you and to people across the country, for all that you have given of yourselves to this campaign,” he said. “This is not just about Paul and me – it is about America, and the future we will leave to our children. We thank you, and we ask you to stay at it all the way – all the way to victory on Tuesday night.”

‘Day One, Job One’

At a gaggle held aboard Romney’s campaign airplane Wednesday, Kevin Madden, Romney’s campaign manager, stressed the Republican nominee intended to maintain a positive tone and lay out a vision of what he would do in the first days of a Romney presidency.

“For the remainder of the campaign, until Election Day, the governor wants to talk about specifically what he would do on taking office to get the country back on track and fix the economy,” Madden said.

“Day One, Job One” is Romney’s theme “related to creating jobs, fixing schools, getting America energy independent,” said Madden.

Madden stressed the Romney campaign has managed in the final weeks to capture the momentum.

“We can and we will win Ohio,” Madden said.

“If you take a number of these polls together, the trend line is in our favor. What I find very encouraging is that Gov. Romney is leading with independents. But where we feel most confident is that we are playing offense with the map, while the Obama campaign has been forced to play defense.”

This is the reason, Madden said, that the Romney campaign is holding rallies in states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which once were considered safe for Obama.

The Romney campaign’s strategy is to give Obama no choice but to spend additional time and money in the final hours of the campaign visiting states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and spending money with new advertising in the attempt to avoid erosion of Electoral College vote base.

“Obama is defending territory while we’re playing offense,” Madden argued. “As a result, we feel we are very well-positioned right now.”

See the Milwaukee video:

Romney gains momentum

Only a few months ago, conservatives generally accepted that Mitt Romney was going to be the only viable alternative to four more years of Barack Obama’s presidency – a reality that reluctantly united most behind him, if only to oust Obama.

Now, as the presidential campaign draws rapidly to a close, opponents of Obama have picked up on Romney’s emphasis on smaller government, fewer regulations and reduced taxes – all key elements of the supply-side economics identified as “Reaganomics,” which spurred two decades of growth.

In the final days of the 2012 presidential election, swing-state crowds that originally showed up at Romney rallies to oppose Barack Obama have showed enthusiasm for a Romney presidency, convinced not only that Romney is more capable than Obama of setting the U.S. back on the path of economic prosperity, but that Romney represents their values and their vision of a strong America.

A Romney-Ryan rally held at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Golden, Colo., Oct. 23 was perhaps a threshold point, when an overflow crowd of 12,500 supporters demonstrated their determination to see Romney in person.

See the Red Rocks video:

Red Rocks is a high-altitude amphitheater that requires parking in one of several lots located in various locations scattered around the top of the winding approach to the venue, requiring attendees, including the elderly and the infirm, to climb on foot what could amount to as much as a half-mile.

Many spectators arrived four or five hours early for the evening event, just to get a good seat in the first-come, first-serve seating in the tiered outdoors theater.

More than 2,000 people were turned away because the fire marshal determined admitting more was unsafe.

As seen in the video, Romney volunteers handed out T-shirts to attendees to form in the crowd the colorful red, white, blue and yellow Colorado state emblem.

As Romney concluded his speech, the crowd, on to its feet for most of the address, cheered loudly and emotionally, picking up on his crescendo while drowning out many of his words.

“It matters for the future of our planet to have a nation like ours, the leader of the world to be strong and robust, with a strong military, a strong economy, and strong values, and strong allies,” Romney said. “We’re going to make it happen. We can do it together. I love this country. I believe in America. I believe in you and we can do it.”

After four years of Obama denying American exceptionalism while conducting an apology tour around the world, Romney’s message resonated.

At a rally held last night in Virginia Beach, Va., a large crowd of some 15,000 supporters showed up on a chilly evening and stood, some for more than an hour, in an open-field grandstand, for a chance to see Romney.

The rally had originally been scheduled for the day after Hurricane Sandy hit and was rescheduled through active campaign ground-work, including phone calls and emails. Notice was given the public only on Wednesday.

See the Virginia Beach video:

When Romney was introduced, the applause was sustained; thundersticks handed out by the campaign intensified the noise.

Romney started with his charge that the time for “real change” is now, a line borrowed and modified from Obama’s 2008 campaign.

To a series of questions Romney posed about whether the audience wanted four more years of various economic failures, including 23 million unemployed, declining earnings and rising taxes, trillion dollar deficits every year, and gridlock in Washington, D.C., supporters shouted a resounding “No.”

Picking up on the Obama theme of “four more years,” Romney encouraged the crowd to chant “five more days” – the length of time left to the presidential election.

“Attacking me is not an agenda for a second term,” Romney said, emphasizing his intent to remain positive.

“On Day One, we’ll bring real change,” he promised, again to sustained applause.

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