Romney makes final case to New Hampshire
Romney's speech stressed the different path his presidency would take from President Barack Obama's first term. Romney said he will work with members of both parties as he tackles the deficit, works toward energy independence and creates new policies to improve education and empower small businesses.
"Accomplishing real change is not something I talk about, it's what I've done, and it's something I am going to do when I am president of the United States," Romney said.
Romney and his wife Ann Romney shared an emotional moment during the rally when they were greeted on stage with a several minute ovation from the audience. Ann Romney addressed women directly, expressing her understanding of women's issues and urging women to vote
Romney criticized the president for promising change that he failed to deliver. Romney said that the president's failed policies include "raiding" Medicare to fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, failing to boost the nation's sluggish economy and dividing the country by failing to work with congressional Republicans.
"Talk is cheap, but a record is real," Romney said.
Romney reiterated his background of leading a successful business, fixing the 2002 Winter Olympics' financial problems and changing Massachusetts' budget deficit to a surplus as governor. He said this experience makes him better suited than Obama to address current economic and fiscal problems.
"Tomorrow we begin a new tomorrow," Romney said.
Prior to the start of the rally, supporters lined the block of the convention center and waited in line for nearly two hours before passing through security. Some Dartmouth students traveled to Manchester to support Romney and hear him speak on the eve of Election Day.
Chloe Ruiz-Funes '13, who attended the rally with other students from the College, said she was excited about the number of people in attendance and Kid Rock's concert that excited the crowd.
"I decided to travel to Manchester because I knew this was a unique opportunity being a senior in college in New Hampshire, a historical swing state," she said.
Ruiz-Funes said she met Romney during the Republican debates on campus last fall and has been a supporter ever since. She said she believes that the Romney-Ryan ticket has the willpower and experience to improve the economy.
"As a senior in college about to enter the workforce, I have a vested interest in the economic climate of our country, and I look forward to having a president who will take charge to make it better," she said.
Lauren Salgueiro '15 also attended the rally and was struck by its energy and number of attendees.
"I have never experienced a political gathering so full of energy and pride not only were they proud to be Romney supporter,s but they were proud to be American," she said. "I was overwhelmed by the dedication of Romney fans while they waited for hours outside in the freezing cold. The only one complaining about the cold was me."
Salgueiro also said she believes that the Romney-Ryan ticket can best address the nation's economic issues.
"Economically speaking, America can't afford to allow a president without fiscal discipline to sit in office," she said.
Other Romney-Ryan supporters at the rally stressed the importance of jobs, the economy and social issues to the election.
Gregg Leblond, a sophomore at New Hampshire Technical Institute, said he is most concerned about the country's economic situation and the job prospects he will have to confront once he graduates.
"I think [Romney's] victory can create a lot of jobs and put the state and country back on track," he said.
Donna Rollins and Abbi Strong from Ramon, N.H., have been campaigning for Romney in their communities and through social media sites. Rollins criticized Obama for his reliance on rhetoric while failing to demonstrate tangible results.
"Obama has fragmented and divided the country," she said. "We need to bring the country back to the way it was."
Strong said the president has failed to produce the positive economic change necessary. She said Romney's business background will allow him to make the reforms necessary to produce economic growth.
Carl Cooper, a Manchester resident, said the Romney campaign has gained momentum throughout the country that will lead him to victory in New Hampshire and in the general election.
"Both Romney and [vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul] Ryan [R-Wis.] are in favor of protecting the interests of the individual starting from the unborn but also people who want to get a job, want to live their lives, want to plan for the future things that are threatened by big government and they want to restore the balance," Cooper said.
Notable New Hampshire Republicans including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., and gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontaigne expressed their support for Romney and encouraged the state's citizens to vote for Republican candidates to ensure lasting change in the state.
Singer Kid Rock also held a performance at the rally, during which the audience took part in a continuous human wave that stretched around the arena.
The campaign's final event was held in the same city in which Romney began his presidential campaign in 2011.