You can officially count golfing legend Jack Nicklaus as a Mitt Romney supporter.
Nicklaus, winner of more major golf tournaments than anyone and a son of Upper Arlington, delivered a formal endorsement of the Republican presidential nominee this morning at Westerville South High School that was at times personal and at others sprinkled with statistical, policy-driven talking points normally delivered by a more political surrogate or the candidate himself.
"I've always said the worst thing you can do on a golf course is to dwell on a bad shot, because it will affect your swing," Nicklaus said, speaking before Romney addressed approximately 1,700 in the school gymnasium and another 350 in an overflow room, according to the Romney campaign.
Nicklaus said the election wasn't about what's best for him, but for his children and grandchildren. But earlier in his speech he said he's been forced to lay off "over 50 percent" of the staff at his Nicklaus Design golf course design firm over the last four years -- and couldn't " afford four more years" of President Barack Obama.
As he was listing off some negative economic statistics within Ohio, Nicklaus said "since that other guy took office, umm, since Obama took office, the number of people taking food stamps increased by 40 percent."
With signs waving that read "The Golden Bear for Romney/Ryan," Romney said "what you heard from the greatest athlete of the 20th century, the words you heard from the Golden Bear, the words he spoke, they touched my heart."
"He was moving and powerful," Romney said during the rally that had to be moved inside because of the threat of bad weather. "He's not a politician. He spoke from his heart. And what he said was about our country. And when he said this election was not about him, but about his kids and his grandkids, I knew just what he felt."
Romney began the final day of his campaign's three-day Ohio bus tour with even more bad polling news -- Quinnipiac University and the New York Times have him down by 10 percentage points in Ohio.
The Republican made no mention of the polls and continued his theme from Tuesday of not understanding how people would want to vote for Obama after the country's economic performance under him.
Some in the crowd questioned the polling. Eric Rotermund, 32, of Galena said he believes the polling that shows Romney trailing "isn't all that accurate."
"I think people are fed up with talking about (the election), they want action."Early in his speech Romney stressed his past of working with a Democratic-controlled legislature as governor of Massachusetts, and he offered a much more limited pledge of his intentions to get tough on China in the global economy.
"I don't believe we can afford four more years like the last four years, and the reason I believe that after the debates and after the campaigns and after all the ads are over, the people of Ohio are going to say loud and clear on Nov. 6 we can't afford four more years, we must do better," Romney said.
Later in his speech, Romney added: "By the way, don't be expecting a huge cut in taxes, because I am also going to lower deductions and exemptions." The Obama campaign has repeatedly knocked him for his intentions to maintain Bush-era tax cuts for top income earners and further lower tax rates.
"With 41 days left, Mitt Romney has limited time to level with the American people about his record and plans for America," said Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman. "As each day passes, he continues to fail to do that."
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