Romney in Iowa to Start Whirlwind Tour of Battleground States

DES MOINES, Iowa - Mitt Romney made his final stop in the battleground state of Iowa today, on a day that will take him to Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania before midnight.

He had visited Iowa even before announcing his candidacy last June, and this was his twenty-first campaign event in Iowa this year alone. Romney made his final argument for voters to come to the polls for him, stressing the importance of the state on Election Day.

"This is much more than our moment. It's America's moment of renewal and purpose and optimism," said Romney. "We've journeyed far and wide in this great campaign for America's future, and now we're almost home. One final push will get us there. We've known many long days and short nights, and now we're close."

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"The door to a brighter future is there, open, waiting for us. I need your vote, I need your work, I need your help. Walk with me. We'll walk together. Let's begin anew. I need Iowa - I need Iowa so we can win the White House and take back America, keep it strong, make sure we always remain the hope of the earth. I'm counting on you. Will you get the job done?" Romney shouted.

Romney's voice sounded hoarse at times and he flubbed one of his most frequently used lines, saying that employment, rather than unemployment, had risen under President Obama.

But appearing more energized toward the end of his speech, Romney began to rally the crowd of more than 4,000, many of whom banged noise makers and waved American flags.

"This is a campaign about America and about the future we're going to leave our children," he said. "We thank you, we ask you to stay with it. All the way. All the way to our victory on Tuesday night!"

It has been a long and interesting road for Romney in Iowa. His first trip here, in May 2011, included a campaign event that had to be cut short when a bag of burned popcorn forced the crowd to evacuate.

He was heckled at the Iowa State Fair, a moment in which he famously said, "Corporations are people too," and while initially it was reported that he had actually won the Iowa caucus in January, he ended up losing to former GOP rival Rick Santorum by a handful of votes. And just last week he earned the endorsement of the Des Moines Register, the largest Iowa newspaper. The Register has not endorsed a Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon.

Romney has made seven stops here alone since the Republican National Convention in August. The latest Des Moines Register poll showed President Obama ahead in the state, 47-42.

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