THE RACE: Romney reunites with Ryan at NH forum

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By TOM RAUM, Associated Press

For Mitt Romney, this is the last week to rally GOP troops before the Republican National Convention.

He began by fielding questions side-by-side with running mate Rep. Paul Ryan on Monday at an outdoor town-hall-style forum at St. Anselm College near Manchester, N.H.

Both criticized President Barack Obama's plan to trim payments to Medicare providers, even though part of that plan had previously been endorsed by Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

"We want this debate, we need this debate and we will win this debate about Medicare," Ryan said.

Romney, who has a vacation home in New Hampshire, asked members of the audience to find a friend or neighbor who voted for Obama in 2008 and try to persuade them to vote for him and Ryan this time.

"I know there are a lot of them out there that aren't quite sure what they're going to do," he said.

After Romney receives his party's nomination in Tampa, Fla., at the four-day convention, he'll have access to about $165 million in general election funds that his campaign will use for the home stretch, mostly on advertising in swing states.

While he clinched the nomination three months ago, Romney hasn't been able to touch that money since it was specifically donated for the general election.

He burned through a lot of cash in beating back Republican primary foes whereas Obama faced no Democratic challenger. However, Romney has out-raised Obama over the past three months.

New Hampshire is a traditionally Republican-leaning state but voted Democratic in both 2004 and 2008. Romney was heading later Monday to New Orleans.

Obama, who was doing White House interviews with local TV anchors from Florida, Virginia and California, hits the campaign trail again on Tuesday and Wednesday with stops in Ohio, Nevada and New York.

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