Mitt Romney waves to supporters while boarding his campaign plane in Coraopolis,… (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty…)
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — As voters headed to the polls around the country, Mitt Romney dashed to the finish on Tuesday, voting with his wife, Ann, before hop-scotching across Ohio and Pennsylvania to thank volunteers and make a final get-out-the-vote push.
At a phone bank in Richmond Heights, Ohio, Romney told volunteers — who greeted him by singing “God Bless America” – that “it is all coming together today.”
“This is a big day for big change,” Romney told volunteers. “We are about to change America – to help people in ways that they didn't imagine they could be helped with good jobs and better take-home pay. The country has been going in the wrong direction, we are going to steer it back onto a course that it going to help the American people have a brighter future."
Romney was in high spirits Tuesday, traveling with his best friend Bob White, chief strategist Stuart Stevens, his son Tagg Romney and grandson Joe. The candidate was relaxed and so were his advisors. Stevens appeared in the aisle of Romney’s plane shortly after touchdown in Cleveland and whipped out a Nerf gun from behind his back—firing it at reporters in the back of the plane.
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By coincidence, Romney taxied to a runway not far from Air Force Two, which had brought Vice President Joe Biden to Cleveland. “I thought they said that it was panic that we were campaigning today,” Stevens said of the Obama-Biden campaign after peering out the window at Biden’s plane, which was parked on another runway across a grassy airstrip.
Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan arrived a few minutes later. “What UP?” he said to Romney after striding on to his plane. He proceeded to regale Romney with tales of his last few rallies: "6,500 showed up in Minneapolis, they couldn’t even fit them all in the place," Ryan told Romney.
After visiting the victory center in Richmond Heights, the running mates had lunch at Wendy’s. Romney ordered a quarter-pound burger, chili and a frosty.
Back at the airport, Janna Ryan played football with her sons and her daughter in a shift dress and high-heeled boots. She chased her 2-year-old niece around the runway and helped hand out red fleece jackets that bore the name of the Ryan campaign entourage: the Flying Badgers.
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After Janna Ryan had popped back on the plane, her son Sam came back outside, running in circles for about 10 minutes before starting a game of tag with the children of Ryan’s chief of staff and several Ryan aides.
When Romney’s plane touched down in Moon Township outside of Pittsburgh, hundreds of people lined an outdoor parking garage overlooking the Tarmac where Romney’s plane pulled up. The candidate in his shirtsleeves strode toward them, waving to them on the other side of the fence.
“How does that feel, Governor?” a reporter asked.
“Well that’s when you know you’re going to win,” Romney replied.
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