TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney returned, tentatively, to campaigning Wednesday at an airplane hangar here, after putting politics on pause while Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast earlier this week.
Rolling out a buffet of Republican surrogates — from local lawmakers, to Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio — the campaign sought to keep the tone of the event exceptionally civil. There were no jokes about Joe Biden, no accusations that President Obama was running a "small campaign," and no rally-ending promise to "take back America."
In fact, Romney didn't even mention incumbent by name. Instead, he opened his remarks by expressing concern for the storm's victims, and then went on to lament the state of the economy, and promise a brighter future.
His only mention of his opponent came when he broadly cited disagreements in "our respective visions for the country."
He also praised the country for coming together in times of crisis — then pivoted to projecting optimism for his campaign.
"Now people coming together is what's going to happen November 7," he said. "I know that we have differing viewpoints with regards to the campaigns up until that point, but we get to vote on November 6."
After outlining his "five-point plan" to restore the economy, Romney closed on a note that symbolized the political tightrope-walk he's been doing for the past couple days, as he works to continue his campaign sprint in the final days of the race, while avoiding an overtly partisan message.
The last two reminders he gave to the crowd: Vote early — and donate to the Red Cross.