Carry on campaigning: Mitt Romney sweeps critics aside

Republican battles to revive his fortunes in Ohio as allies turn their anger on candidate

Even as he prepared to answer calls from within his own party to sharpen his message and ramp up his schedule of public rallies, beginning with a three-day bus tour through Ohio, Mitt Romney managed to insist that he was running a "very effective" campaign for President last night , adding that it was "doing a very good job".

One week after voters glimpsed the Republican challenger telling a private gathering of rich donors that 47 per cent of Americans are welfare-dependent "victims" he can't worry about, Mr Romney now finds himself under brutal pressure to return to the offensive against President Barack Obama and reverse a recent slide in public opinion polls, especially in battleground states including Ohio.

Yet, the candidate may have startled even his closest loyalists by professing in an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes last night that all remains well with his campaign. That has hardly been the verdict of some pundits even in the Republican camp like Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, who clarified at the weekend what she had said earlier last week about the 47 per cent debacle. "The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity'," she wrote.

But Mr Romney appeared to view things very differently. "I've got a very effective campaign. It's doing a very good job … It doesn't need a turnaround," he boldly told CBS. Referring to some recent national polls that show him and President Obama in a dead heat, he went on: "We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent President."

Still, American presidents are elected according to state-by-state voting, not the national popular vote, and the past two weeks have seen Mr Obama widen leads in crucial battlegrounds that will in all likelihood decide the election.

It is no accident that Mr Romney hopes to close the book on his latest embarrassments with a bus tour in Ohio. It may also be telling that the tour will be opened by his running mate, Paul Ryan. Mr Ryan, who will address supporters in Lima, Ohio, today, is increasingly being seen as the more effective campaigner. Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, said as much when he praised Mr Ryan and said he hadn't seen the "kind of passion I know that Paul has transferred over to our nominee".

Like other Republican luminaries, Mr Walker is no longer shy in offering his counsel to Mr Romney. "I want to see fire in the belly," he declared, demanding evidence that the nominee is "lit up and ready to go". He added: "I think you got to get off the heels and get out and charge forward."

Before stopping in Denver last night for a public event, Mr Romney had spent almost the entire weekend raising cash behind closed doors and doing it, moreover, in California, which is not a state he could ever hope to win. He will in fact only join the Ohio bus tour halfway through, in part because of an obligation to speak at a gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative, hosted by former President Bill Clinton, in New York.

Mr Obama by contrast attracted far more helpful campaign headlines on Saturday after drawing a crowd of 18,000 in Milwaukee. He eagerly picked at Mr Romney's 47 per cent wound and decried a Republican economic vision that he said would fail the middle class. "The country doesn't succeed when only the folks at the very top are doing well," Mr Obama told the crowd. "We succeed when the middle class is doing well." After an address to the UN General Assembly in New York tomorrow, Mr Obama will return to the campaign trail and, like Mr Romney, he will be in Ohio, which begins early voting next week.

If Mr Romney might appear to some to be in at least partial denial about the recent misfortunes of his campaign, he was joined yesterday by Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. "I think we had a good week last week," he told ABC News yesterday.

State profile: Why Ohio counts

Voting record

Ohio is not just a battleground, it's a bellwether. The state has backed the winning candidate in every presidential election since 1964, and no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning there. Polls are tight, with Mr Obama holding a 4 per cent lead.

Demographics

The majority of voters are white working class – a group that would tend to favour Mr Romney. But their numbers as a share of the vote have plummeted in recent years, replaced by white college graduates and minorities.

Key issues

The economy will be the key issue come November. In a piece of good news for Mr Obama, Ohio's economy is improving much faster than the national rate, while the unemployment rate stands at 7.2 per cent, compared with 8.1 per cent nationally.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
fashion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

Secondary Japanese Teacher, January 2015 - China

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Secondary Japanese TeacherRequ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes