WAYNE, Pa. — With 39 days until the election, Mitt Romney on Friday spent precious time campaigning in Pennsylvania, a state he hadn’t visited in more than two months and where polls show him trailing President Obama by an average of 8 percentage points.
Brushing aside the numbers, the Republican nominee told a crowd of several hundred people at the Valley Forge Military Academy & College that Obama is taking the state for granted.
“I’ve got a little secret here and that is that the Obama campaign thinks Pennsylvania is in their pocket — they don’t need to worry about it.” Romney said to a chorus of boos. “And you’re right, and they’re wrong; we’re going to win Pennsylvania.”
It was the third day in a row that Romney has campaigned with members of the military. He kept his focus largely on matters of importance to the defense community, hitting the presdient for referring to the recent unrest in the Middle East as a “bump in the road” and telling the audience that proposed defense cuts in the sequestration bill could have a large impact in their state.
“Someone has calculated how many jobs will be lost in Pennsylvania if those trillion dollars in cuts go through,” Romney said. “It’s 39,000 jobs. We can’t afford that.”
Romney told the group he would not cut the military’s budget and would instead increase the amount of troops, Navy ships, and aircraft.
“The administration has characterized their foreign policy as leading from behind — I call that following,” Romney said. “It’s time for America to lead, and we will lead again.”
After the rally but before flying to Massachusetts for a joint fundraiser with running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Romney spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The call came one day after Netanyahu told the United Nations that Iran cannot be allowed to continue enriching uranium beyond next spring or early summer, arguing that at that point the rogue nation will be in a position to quickly produce a nuclear weapon.
Romney met with the Israeli leader earlier this summer in Jerusalem, when Netanyahu called the Republican nominee “a personal friend” and praised Romney’s calls for a harsher stance against the Iranian regime. Friday’s phone call was scheduled in advance, and according to the Weekly Standard, the two men were expected to discuss the situation in Iran and unrest elsewhere in the Middle East.