Jacksonville Landing crowd cheers GOP ticket

Romney, Ryan campaign rally in downtown Jacksonville

By Kent Justice - Anchor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After a week in Florida for the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan returned to the sunshine state with a campaign rally in downtown Jacksonville.

Several thousand people packed the Jacksonville Landing waiting for Romney and Ryan's appearance.

Romney arrived downtown a different candidate then he was the last time he was in northeast Florida. This time he was the Republican choice.

"He went into the convention as the nominee and emerged as the leader of the party. That's what you have to do in order to win this thing," said Bert Ralston, a conservative campaign strategist.

Romney reached out to the thousands of military voters who live in and around Jacksonville, telling the crowd that the world "is not a safer place right now," partly because of Iran's nuclear efforts.

"He wants to cut a trillion dollars from the military budget. That's bad for jobs, bad for the world," Romney said.

During the Republican National Convention earlier this week, Romney accused President Barack Obama of not taking Iran's threat seriously enough, and not showing enough support for Iran's arch-enemy, Israel.

The campaign gave Paul Ryan his chance to address Florida. He took on President Obama's leadership, and his claim of poor performance.

"Here is our pledge, we will lead. We believe in opportunity. We will not spend the next four years blaming. We will fix the problems," Ryan said.

Both had been in Ohio earlier in the day. Ryan attended the Ohio State University game in Columbus against his alma mater, Miami University of Ohio. Romney also had football on his mind, telling a crowd in Cincinnati that he would lead America to a "winning season."

"We have 23 million Americans out of work, can't find full time work. If you have a coach that's zero and 23 million, you say it is time to get someone new," Romney said.

Romney also vowed to "cut the deficit, and get us on track to a balanced budget."

Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.