Romney and Ryan kick off college football season in Ohio

By Sam Youngman, Reuters

Posted at Sep 02 2012 08:12 PM | Updated as of Sep 03 2012 04:12 AM

CINCINNATI - As millions of Americans welcomed the return of college football on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried to get in on the game.

Both Romney and running mate Paul Ryan appeared in the critical swing state and football haven of Ohio on Saturday, with Ryan attending a game at his alma mater and Romney blasting President Barack Obama by telling a crowd of 3,000 supporters that America needs a new coach.

"If you have a coach that's zero and 23 million, you say it's time to get a new coach," Romney told a rally in Cincinnati, referring to the number of Americans the Romney campaign says are unemployed and underemployed. "It's time for America to see a winning season again, and we're going to bring it to them."

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman and graduate of Miami University of Ohio, attended his alma mater's opening game against perennial college football powerhouse Ohio State University.

According to media reports, Ryan joined students and football fans in the American tradition of tailgating -- flipping a few hamburgers on the grill before the game.

Ohio is a key state in the Nov. 6 election, enjoying routine visits from Romney, Ryan and their Democratic rivals.

In 2008, Obama won the state en route to winning the presidency.

Romney and Ryan were scheduled to campaign together later Saturday at a rally in Florida. (Editing by Eric Beech)