DEFIANCE, Ohio - Forget swing state newspapers and major politicians, Mitt Romney tonight received a premium endorsement that nobody was expecting when rock legend Meat Loaf took the stage here and threw his support behind the Republican presidential nominee.
"I have never been in any political agenda in my life, but I think that in 2012 this is the most important election in the history of the United States," Meat Loaf said in a black silk shirt with sparkly buttons down the front and sequined designs on the sleeves. "Storm clouds [have] come over the United States. There is thunderstorms over Europe. There are hail storms, and I mean major hail storms, in the Middle East.
"There are storms brewing through China, through Asia, through everywhere," Meat Loaf said. "And there's only one man that on the other night, when President Barack Obama, God bless him, said to Mitt Romney, 'The Cold War is over' - I have never heard such a thing in my life."
The singer was referring to the presidential debate earlier this week, during which President Obama ribbed Romney for once declaring Russia America's No. 1 geopolitical foe.
"The man needs to understand Putin and Russia, so I want you to know that there is one man who will stand tall in this country and fight the storm and bring the United States back to what it should be - Gov. Mitt Romney," Meat Loaf said to roars from a crowd packed into a football stadium here.
"Like I said, never before have I endorsed a single candidate 'til now, so let me hear y'all repeat after me," Meat Loaf said, leading a call-and-response with Mitt Romney's name, the crowd repeating it after him.
Meat Loaf wasn't done. After playing a musical interlude, the musician grabbed the microphone - which at times was decorated with a red cape - and continued his endorsement.
"Mitt Romney has got the backbone," he said. "Go out and vote. Let me tell you what: I know there's one thing that you've been taught your whole life, is that you never argue politics or religion with your friends. But 2012 is completely different.
"I have been arguing for Mitt Romney for a year," he said. "I made three phone calls today to Democrats in California, and I got two of them to switch to Romney, so two out of three ain't bad. So you get out there and you argue with your relatives, you argue with your neighbors, you get in fights over politics and religion, 'cause we need Ohio! God bless ya. We love ya. Thank you. Keep rockin' - and Mitt Romney!"
When Romney finally took the stage, he didn't wait to thank the musician, and appeared somewhat surprised.
"I mean Meat Loaf was here, can you believe it?" asked Romney.
"Look, these guys have other things to do, you know - they have lives," Romney said. "They can go to a concert where they're getting paid, but they decided instead, because this election counts so much, to come here, and I want to thank them for their generosity and support."
At the end of the rally, as fireworks went off overhead, Meat Loaf joined Romney on stage and the two joined to sing "America the Beautiful" together.
In an amusing coincidence, Romney's wife, Ann Romney, appeared earlier today on the daytime cooking show hosted by Rachel Ray, during which she made her husband's favorite dish: Meatloaf.