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.

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull

Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four finish with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hull City.

Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
arts + ents Samuel L Jackson and Michael Madsen have taken part in a reading of Quentin Tarantino’s axed follow-up to Django Unchained.
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit