ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
On the same day that polls in two key battleground states — Ohio and Florida — showed President Obama growing his lead over Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate acknowledged that he is “pleased with some polls, less so with other polls.”
“Frankly at this early stage, polls go up, polls go down,” Romney said in an interview on Wednesday with ABC’s David Muir on the campaign trail in Toledo, Ohio.
Romney pointed to the first presidential debate — one week from tonight — as a potential turning point in the race.
“We have a chance during the debate to make our message clear to the American people,” the former Massachusetts governor told Muir, “and I’m absolutely convinced that when people see the two of us talk about our direction for America they’re going to support me because I know what it takes to make the economy going again, and the president has proven he does not.”
Romney spoke to Muir at the end of his busiest day of campaigning in the Buckeye State in months. Romney held rallies in Westerville and Toledo and a manufacturing roundtable in Bedford Heights.
A New York Times-CBS News-Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday morning found President Obama’s edge over Romney in the crucial state growing to double digits, 53 percent to 43 percent. That’s up from the president’s 50 percent to 44 percent lead in a similar poll released on August 23.
In response to today’s new numbers as well as a series of other public polls in the state, ABC News moved the state of Ohio, with its 18 electoral votes, from “Toss Up” territory to “Lean Obama.”
But Romney said he was not deterred.
“I’m tied in the national polls, both Gallup and Rasmussen have the numbers at even,” he told ABC News. “State by state you’ve got some advertising going on from the Obama people , which expresses their views on my positions which frankly, I think are inaccurate, and in some cases, dishonest.”
In the interview, Romney declined to respond directly to the voices of critics, some from within his own party, who have been urging him to shift his strategy after several trying weeks for his campaign.
“There are critics and there are cheerleaders, we have people of all different persuasion,” Romney said, noting that “every day there are improvements and new messages that come out.”
“What the president said just the other day about ‘bumps in the road’ with regards to the events in the Middle East,” he added. “That obviously was a whole new area to be discovered and discussed.”
The Republican presidential hopeful was making his way across the state on the same day that President Obama campaigned at two Ohio colleges — Bowling Green State University and Kent State University. At those events the president did not miss an opportunity to refer to the comments made by Romney in a hidden camera video released last week showing the GOP candidate saying that “47 percent” of the American people are dependent upon government and would not vote for him.
Romney said he will be offering a different message to voters in the battleground states he will be visiting between now and Election Day.
“Mine is a campaign about 100 percent of the people, not 99 and one, not any other percent,” Romney said. “It’s about getting 100 percent of the people in this country to have a brighter future, better job prospects and higher take home pay.”
And responding to his wife, Ann’s recent comments to an Iowa radio station that running a presidential campaign “is hard” and that fellow Republicans should not be too quick to criticize her husband, Romney called her a “very strong character.”
“She doesn’t like it when people go after me, but I’m just fine. I got broad shoulders, and I’m happy to fend off the attacks that come my way,” Romney told Muir. “And frankly, all of this is diversion from what the people of America care about. What they want to know is, who’s going to make their life better, who’s going to make sure we have more jobs, who’s going to make sure we have more take home pay, who’s going to keep America strong abroad?”