Romney take aim at key Midwestern swing states

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney made late pitches in the political battlegrounds of the upper Midwest on Friday, a region likely to decide the winner in next week's closely fought election for the White House.

In dueling campaign appearances in the swing states of Ohio and Wisconsin, the two contenders battled over the economy on a day when the government reported the jobless rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in October but that employers stepped up their hiring.

In Wisconsin, where polls show Romney trailing Obama, the Republican laid out the case for his election and said the jobs report was more evidence of the president's failing leadership.

The question of this election comes down to this: do you want more of the same or do you want real change? Romney said in a suburb of Milwaukee after getting the endorsement of former Green Bay Packers star quarterback Bart Starr.

Romney stepped up his attack at two stops in Ohio, including a huge rally in West Chester, a community near Cincinnati, where Kid Rock warmed up the crowd with the Romney signature song, Born Free, and a host of Republican leaders spoke.

Your state is the one I'm counting on, Romney told thousands of cheering supporters on a chilly night. This is the one we have to win.

With four days left until Tuesday's election, Obama and Romney are essentially tied in national polls, but the president holds a slight edge in the battleground states that are crucial to gaining the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

On a stop in Ohio, the most heavily contested swing state and a vital cog in the electoral math for both candidates, Obama said the jobs report was evidence we have made real progress.

Obama, whose federal rescue of the auto industry has been popular in a state where one in eight jobs is auto industry-related, hammered Romney for a recent statement that Chrysler planned to move Jeep production to China.

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