MORRISVILLE, Pa.With time winding down and the election drawing near, Mitt Romney spent some of his most precious capital - his time - campaigning in eastern Pennsylvania, a state that had been considered safely in the Obama column, but where a few recent polls have shown a tightening of the race.
The Romney campaign chose Morrisville as the site of his rally, a city close to the New Jersey border, where many are still reeling from Superstorm Sandy. Romney used the opportunity to thank all of the governors along the east coast who have been dealing with the storm and its aftermath, and he singled out the work of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican who, before the storm, was a regular campaigner for Romney.
"He's giving it all of his heart and his passion to help the people of his state," Romney said. "They're in a hard way, and we appreciate his hard work. Thank you, governor."
Christie recently raised eyebrows for his effusive praise of President Obama's response to the hurricane. On Sunday, he told an Israeli TV interviewer that while he does believe the president deserves the praise, he is also still going to vote for Romney.
The crowd of 25,000 here showed up hours in advance and waited in temperatures in the lower 40s to see the Romney, who was running about 75 minutes late due to a ground delay at the Philadelphia airport, where he flew in. When he finally did arrive - exiting his campaign bus with wife Ann to the theme from Rocky - he seemed genuinely touched that so many had turned out.
"What a welcome!" he said to a large roar. He told the audience that their voices were being heard all over the nation. "The people of America understand we're taking back the White House because we're going to win Pennsylvania."
Speaking from a teleprompter, as he has been doing for the past two days, Romney delivered his closing message - asking the crowd if they wanted four more years like the last four years, or if they instead wanted "real change."
He attacked Mr. Obama's record, arguing that the president has fallen short of the promises he made in 2008.
"It's because he cared more about the liberal agenda than he did about repairing the economy," Romney said.
Romney's visit to Pennsylvania marks his sixth trip to the state since becoming the Republican nominee. Although the state hasn't been polled as much as other traditional battlegrounds and political observers are skeptical that it's a true battleground state, the Real Clear Politics polling average shows Mr. Obama with only a 3.9 percent edge in the state.
Romney supporters were recently encouraged by a Pittsburgh Tribune Review poll showing the race deadlocked at 47 to 47, though another poll from the Allentown Morning Call out Sunday showed the president with a 49 to 46 lead.