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November 2, 2012

Wrestling for 'candidate of change' mantle intensifies as election nears

(Continued)

Still, none of the day’s measurements packed the political significance of the campaign’s final report on unemployment, due out Friday. Joblessness was measured at 7.8 percent in September, falling below 8 percent for the first time since Obama took office.

Unemployment alone explained the competition to be the candidate of change, the slogan Obama memorably made his own in 2008 and struggles to hold now.

“Real Change On Day One,” read a huge banner at Romney’s first appearance of the day, in Roanoke, Va., and the same on a sign on the podium where he spoke in Doswell.

“This is a time for greatness. This is a time for big change, for real change,” said the former Massachusetts governor, a successful businessman who says his background gives him the know-how to enact policies that will help create jobs. “I’m going to make real changes. I’m going to get this economy going, from day one we’re making changes.”

He and his running mate also poked at Obama’s proposal to create a Department of Business by merging several existing agencies, including the Commerce Department, and the Republican campaign released a television ad on the subject.

“I don’t think adding a new chair in his Cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street,” jabbed Romney.

To dramatize his economy-based appeal, the Republican challenger also stopped by Bill’s Barbecue, a decades-old restaurant in Richmond that closed its doors during the long recession. Walking inside past the “Do Not Enter” signs, he asked owner Rhoda Elliott what had happened.

“Usually when we have a small hiccup in the economy, they go from the white cloth, which is Morton’s and those, and then they — we’re the next step, and so we usually fare pretty good. But this one lasted so long they went down the next step, and that’s where it is right now,” said Elliott.

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