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Romney delivers 'real change' speech in Iowa


AMES, IA -- Promising to deliver "real change" to meet the nation's "big problems," Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney summarized his closing pitch to voters in a major speech Friday in Iowa.

Charlie Neibergall / AP

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers his speech on the economy during a campaign stop at Kinzler Construction Services, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, in Ames, Iowa.

The former Massachusetts governor, just 11 days out from Election Day, cast the choice facing voters as between "big change" (represented by Romney) and the status quo, as represented by President Barack Obama.

Romney's twenty minute speech was a crisper, cleaner version of the "big change" argument he began laying out on the stump Thursday in Ohio. In it, the Republican nominee accused Obama of shrinking from the many challenges faced by the American people and economy, and tried to offer a hopeful vision for what a Romney-Ryan presidency might look like.

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"This is an election of consequence.  Our campaign is about big things, because we happen to believe that America faces big challenges.  We recognize this is a year with a big choice, and the American people want to see big changes.  And together we can bring that kind of change, real change to our country," Romney said.

"Four years ago, candidate Obama spoke to the scale of the times," Romney continued. "Today, he shrinks from it, trying instead to distract our attention from the biggest issues to the smallest -- from characters on Sesame Street and silly word games to misdirected personal attacks he knows are false."

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Romney told a crowd of more than 2,000 supporters here that he and Ryan would take on the "big problems that everyone agrees can’t wait any longer" -- including reforming entitlements, curbing health care costs and breaking partisan gridlock in Washington, an issue on which he also battered the president for failing to live up to his promises.

Governor Mitt Romney addressed a crowd of supporters in Ames, Iowa, touting himself as a candidate of change and promising to "bring that kind of change, real change to our country."

"The president's campaign falls far short of the magnitude of these times. And the presidency of the last four years has fallen far short of the promises of his last campaign," Romney said. "Four years ago, America voted for a post-partisan president, but they have seen the most partisan of political of presidents, and a Washington in gridlock because of it."

While the speech was billed as a major policy address by the Republican's campaign, it, in fact, largely restated many of the policies about which Romney has talked throughout the campaign. But it offered the GOP nominee a chance to frame the election on his own terms, and argue that his track record suggests he would be more successful in breaking partisan gridlock in Washington.

"We’re going to will meet with Democrat and Republican leaders in Washington regularly, we’re going to look for common ground and shared principles, we’ll put the interests of the American people above the interests of the politicians,” Romney said.

The return to first principles for the Romney campaign -- focusing tightly on kitchen table economic issues and attacking Obama on a litany of issues -- comes as the campaign has looked to project confidence and momentum as the race hurtles towards its conclusion on Nov. 6.

"All the trendlines are positive, both in the national polls and the battleground states," senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told reporters before the event.

The Obama campaign characteristically disputed Romney's speech.

"Romney has started promising ‘big change,’ but the only change Romney’s offering is to take us back to the same failed policies that crashed our economy in the first place," Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith said in a statement responding to Friday's speech. "That’s not the change we need, and with every ‘major speech,’ Mitt Romney just reminds voters that’s all he’s got to offer.”