Cincinnati • It was game day in Ohio in more ways than one.
As his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan watched the Ohio State and Miami University kick off their football seasons here in Ohio, Mitt Romney began the second full day as the Republican nominee in the state stressing the importance of promises kept and teamwork.
With an "America's Comeback Team" banner behind him and the American and Ohio state flags hanging above his head and flanked by hometown pols House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman Romney said he prepared for his convention speech by reading addresses given by other politicians, including the inaugural address of President Obama.
"One of the promises he made was he was going to create more jobs and today there are 23 million people are out of work or have stopped looking for work or underemployed," Romney said. "Let me tell you if you have a coach that's zero and 23 million, you say it's time to get a new coach. It's time for America to see a winning season again and we are going to bring it to them."
"America is a story of the many becoming one and accomplishing extraordinary things because of our unity," Romney said. "I will do everything in my power to bring us together ... this is a time for us to come together as a nation, we do not have to have the kind of divisiveness and bitterness and recriminations we've seen over the last four years. I will bring us together."
The campaign was scheduled to kick off in Virginia on Friday, but Romney detoured to New Orleans to view damage caused by Hurricane Issac.
A large, friendly crowd greeted Romney here inside historic Union Terminal, even though many of them near the back had trouble hearing the candidate because of the acoustics inside the venue.
Before his remarks to the crowd, Romney, Portman and Boehner visited an overflow room for those that could not get into the main venue.
"What are we going do with Barack Obama on Election Day? Throw him out!" Boehner said. "It's time to put a real leader with real courage in the White House: Mitt Romney!"
The Obama campaign shot back at Romney, saying his policies would hurt the middles class voters here was trying to appeal to here.
"Mitt Romney spoke a lot about promises in Cincinnati today, but here are his promises to the middle class: a $2,000 tax hike for the average middle class family with kids to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, turning Medicare into a voucher system, and deep cuts to critical investments in education and infrastructure," said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith in a statement.
Romney and Obama are in a statistical tie in the Buckeye State with the president leading by a little more than a percentage point, according to a Real Clear Politics polling average.
Ryan joined Romney for an event in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday afternoon, where the campaign estimated 5,000 waited in 90 degree heat to see the pair.
Ryan reminded Florida supoprters that they are critical to a Romney-Ryan win in November.
"If Florida goes the right way, America goes the right way," Ryan said.
Romney asked the crowd to each find one person who voted for Obama in 2008 and persuade them to switch. Romeny said these voters are easy to identify because "on their cars you see the glue from where the bumper sticker used to be."
His day will end in New Hampshire where he has no scheduled events through the rest of the holiday weekend.
Romney adviser Kevin Madden said Romney would spend Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the same days as the Democratic convention in Charlotte preparing for the upcoming presidential debate.
He did not rule out that public events could also be scheduled.
Portman, who played President Obama in Sen. John McCain's debate prep four years ago, will join Romney in Reading, Vt., at former Massachusetts Lt. governor Kerry Healey's home, for debate practive.
The first of the three presidential debates will take place Oct.3.