(WESTERVILLE, OHIO) — After waking up to daunting poll numbers that show him trailing in Ohio by double digits, Mitt Romney on Wednesday attempted to showcase a rare bright spot in the polls: that he leads President Obama on his perceived handling of the federal budget deficit.
“There’s something else he wants to do that’s the same as he’s done in the past, and that is trillion dollar deficits,” Romney said Wednesday in Westerville, Ohio, of his differences with Obama on budget-deficit reduction. “If he were re-elected, I can assure you it will be almost $20 trillion in debt.”
When asked who would do a better job on the budget deficit, Ohio voters preferred Romney over Obama 49 percent to 45 percent, the new Quinnipiac University poll shows.
The numbers were one of the few favorable results for the Romney campaign among the myriad of polls out recently showing that the crucial swing state of Ohio seems to be slowly slipping out of his grasp.
Smack dab in the middle of a two-day, four-city bus trip of Ohio, the Romney campaign on Wednesday rolled out the National Debt clock, a campaign stagecraft staple early on in the campaign that now only makes brief appearances, perhaps to visually underscore his lead on this issue.
“Do you know what the interest bill is on that debt?” Romney asked the crowd at Westerville South High School as the large debt clock ticked up over his shoulder. “The interest rate, the interest that you’re paying on that debt every year is more than we pay for housing, for agriculture, for education and transportation combined.”
Romney said the “crushing” course on which Obama has put the nation is “immoral” to pass on to the next generation and, as Romney aides say his bus tour intended to do more succinctly, outlined the “choice” that voters have.
“I do not want an intrusive, massive, larger debt-spending government that crushes the American dream,” he said. “This really matters. The choice we make is going to determine what kind of take-home pay people in America have. It’s going to determine what kind of jobs we have.”
Tapping into a more emotional side, Romney recalled meeting a woman in her 50s Tuesday who has been out of work since May with no good job prospects on the horizon.
“My heart aches for the people I’ve seen,” he said. “I know what it takes to get this economy going again. I care about the people of America. And the difference between me and President Obama is I know what to do and I will do what it takes to get this economy going.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jennifer Rizzo, CNN
Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN