Romney's first address followed by hours the release of the Labor Department's final jobs report before the election. It showed that U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October and that hiring was stronger in September and August than first thought. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent, from 7.8 percent in September, because more people started looking for work.
The report sketched a picture of a job market that is gradually gaining momentum after nearly stalling in the spring.
In a statement issued before arriving in Wisconsin, the home state of running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney said the new unemployment report was a "sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill."
While polls have shown the economy is the top concern of most voters, Romney's advisers don't believe the new jobs number will have any impact on the election. Privately they said the report was likely a wash — with a slight uptick in unemployment and stronger-than-expected job growth. Publicly, they said it gave Romney a new point to hammer home in the final days.
Still, Romney struck a bipartisan tone Friday. "The president just cannot work with Congress to get the work done," he declared. "I will not represent one party. I will represent one nation."
In the Wisconsin speech, Romney asked people to vote for "real change" if they are "tired of being tired."
While Romney's team is making an aggressive play for Wisconsin, no Republican has won the state since President Ronald Reagan in 1984.