Romney says he offers 'big change' to replace 'status quo'

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Mitt Romney sought to reframe the election Thursday, presenting voters in Ohio with a choice between the "status quo" and the opportunity for "big change" in the nation's trajectory.

The Republican presidential nominee told 3,000 supporters at a precision machinery factory outside Cincinnati it was a "critical time" in the country's history, and the path voters here chose would have an "enormous impact" on the future.

"The path we're on - the status quo path -- is a path that doesn't have an answer about how to get the economy going," Romney said before launching into his five-point plan to fix America's ailing economy.

Rattling off the challenges facing the country -- growing debt, lack of jobs, and stagnant growth -- Romney presented his plan to build a strong America, promising to do better than the last four years.

"The path we're on has an economy growing more slowly this year than it did last year, and more slowly last year than the year before," Romney said. "The path we're on has the average income of an American family down by $4,300 per year over the president's term. The path we're on does not have new answers."

In a statement, Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith shot back, saying the plans Romney is offering are "the same failed policies that caused the economy crisis."

The remarks kicked off a one-day bus tour through the western half of Ohio, where Romney will hit major media markets not only here, but also in neighboring Michigan.

Ohio remains Romney's largest challenge to winning in November. While polls have tightened in the last few weeks, the president still enjoys a slight lead in the Buckeye State.

And with early voting already underway across the state, Romney encouraged people to get to the polls.

"We need to make sure Ohio is able to send a message loud and clear: We want real change. We want big change," he concluded to loud applause.