Romney Campaign Sets Sight on Small Town America

Romney bus tour hopes to win over small towns in East and Midwest with economic message.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a baby as he greets supporters during a campaign rally at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig, Colo.

Strategists for Mitt Romney see rising potential for the Republican presidential candidate to win key states in the upper Midwest in the November election. Among their targets of opportunity are Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Romney strategists say the recent recall election victory by Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker has given them more optimism about their prospects in the state. Recent polls have shown Romney and Obama locked in a close race there. Romney advisers also hope that his current five-day bus tour of small towns in the East and Midwest will help him appeal to small-town voters in the Upper Midwest. Wisconsin and Iowa are included on this tour.

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Romney's goal was clear in excerpts released by his campaign of a speech prepared for delivery this weekend in Stratham New Hampshire, where the five-day trip begins. "Washington's big government agenda should not smother small-town dreams," he says. "In the America we love, every town counts. Every job counts. And every American counts."

Beyond this, Romney advisers say that his intense focus on the economy is what will appeal to key demographic groups that went heavily for President Obama in the 2008 election. This includes Hispanics, women, and young people. In each case, a senior Romney aide says, the main Romney message will be that Obama has allowed unemployment to remain high while Romney's policies would create jobs for each group.

"That's our wheelhouse," the advisor says.

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," on usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

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