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Politics

Presidential campaigns angle for votes from football fans

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On college football’s opening weekend, Mitt Romney took the opportunity to mix in some new sports metaphors with his now-familiar critique of President Obama’s record.

“We are at a 30-year low in startups and new businesses, and that’s where jobs are created,” Romney said at an outdoor plaza overlooking the river in Jacksonville. “He said he’d measure success by whether people were able to find new jobs. We have 23 million Americans out of work, or dropped out of the workforce or can’t find full-time work.”

“Look, if there’s a coach whose record is zero and 23 million, you get rid of him and get someone new,” Romney said to huge cheers. “I don’t like the way the game is going under this president.” 

The Republican nominee first used the line at an earlier event in Cincinnati.

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His running mate Paul D. Ryan, a graduate of Miami University in Ohio, peeled off from Romney to attend his alma mater’s game against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

After Miami lost, reporters on his campaign plane wrote the score on an orange and rolled it to him at the front of the plane. He wrote that the team was winning when he was there and rolled the orange back. He later tweeted: “Had the opportunity to see the Miami RedHawks play Ohio State today … Sports fans have to see 1 game in Ohio Stadium.”

In Sioux City, Iowa, President Obama marked the opening weekend with an unscheduled stop at a sports bar, where patrons were watching the Iowa State and Nebraska football games.

“I’ve been missing football a little too much,” Obama said, according to a pool report filed by Politico.

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The president shook hands and posed for photos. At one point, he asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, to snap a photo with people wearing Iowa Hawkeye garb.

The sports bar’s crowd was glued to the Iowa game and booed when the quarterback for Northern Illinois scored on a touchdown. “I don’t want to be associated with that play,” Obama said. 

maeve.reston@latimes.com

Twitter: @maevereston

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