ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and Emily Friedman Report:
MARION, Ohio–Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wrapped up a three-stop bus tour of the Northwestern part of this critical state, striking a bipartisan tone with the top of the ticket urging the crowd to talk to their friends who may have cast a ballot for a Democrat in the past.
“Your friends may have voted last time, perhaps in the Democratic primary, they may have voted for who knows? They may have voted for Hillary Clinton or they may have voted for Barack Obama, they may have voted for then-candidate Obama in the final election,” Romney, standing next to his running mate, told the crowd of about 5,000.
Romney continued, telling supporters in this reliably red county which John McCain won four years ago by ten points, he needed their help convincing those who may still be undecided.
“But I need you to convince them to vote for Paul Ryan and me and that’s not always easy but you can ask them this question: you can say do you think everything’s going just fine?,” Romney asked, before telling the audience how to pitch his ticket to their friends.
“You’re gonna say, ‘Do you think should just go on like they’re going for the last four years? And if they have the same answer you just had then you have the number one argument why for why they should vote for us. Because our campaign is about fundamental change, our campaign is about real change, taking a course correction in this country,” Romney said.
Romney continued the theme saying under a Romney-Ryan administration he would work across the aisle, something his running mate also likes to mention when he’s on the stump.
“We’re going to have to do something that has been done in the past in this country and that is we’re going to have to reach across the aisle we’re going to have to find good Democrats, by the way Democrats love America too, we’ve got to reach across the aisle find ways to bring in people from the other party work together, collaborate, meet regularly and fight for the American people and we will!,” Romney said.
He added that working with Democrats is one of the reasons he selected Ryan as his running mate, saying “he ‘s worked with people across the aisle and has their respect.”
Of course, Democrats fiercely dispute this version of history and the Obama campaign was quick to point that out Sunday saying, ”The American people can’t trust a word Mitt Romney says, especially when he claims he’d work across the aisle as president.”
“As Governor, he refused to work with Democrats in the legislature,” Obama campaign spokesperson Danny Kanner said in a statement. “And throughout this campaign, he’s refused to stand up to the most extreme voices in his own party…The middle class deserves a president they can trust and Mitt Romney just doesn’t pass that test.”
At their first stop today in Celina, Ryan noted that the campaign is finally in the single digits, “nine more days, we will debating this for nine more days and then on November the 6th you decide.”
“Our obligation to you is to give you, our fellow citizens, a very clear choice, that’s what we are offering, and so November 6th is the day but I’d like to ask you to think about November 7th for a moment. Think about what that morning on Wednesday November the 7th will be like, when we wake up and we turn on the TV, we can either have four more years of the same that are just like the last four years or we can wake up and we can see that we just elected a leader to get our country back on the right track,” Ryan said.
At the final stop in Marion, he was interrupted twice in his brief introduction of his running mate with chants of “Nine more days!” from the boisterous crowd.
And at their second stop in Findlay this afternoon, Ryan noted the political reality of this crucial state: “As goes Ohio, so goes America.”
No Republican has got to the White House without taking Ohio.
Ryan has spent two days campaigning in the Buckeye state covering 400 miles on what was originally supposed to be a solo bus tour, but due to Hurricane Sandy Romney re-routed his schedule from Virginia to Ohio.
The presidential race has come down to just a few battleground states, but none are more important than Ohio, hence the aggressive air and ground wars by both sides as the race comes to a close. Recent polls have Obama ahead, but still show a major tightening since before the presidential debates. A CNN/ORC poll released last week shows the president with 50 percent and Romney with 46 percent here. The latest ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll has the race at a dead heat with Romney at 49 percent and Obama at 48 percent.
Romney continues campaigning here Monday with a stop in Avon Lake, just west of Cleveland.