Romney Rolls Out on Six-State Bus Tour
Republican Mitt Romney kicked off a five-day bus tour Friday, returning to old-school "traditional" campaign tactics to bring him face to face with thousands of voters across six states.
The multi-millionaire challenging for the White House in November's election will be joined by several surrogates and top backers, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, on a journey aimed at convincing Americans he is more in touch with their economic woes than President Barack Obama.
"All six of these states (on the bus tour) we think will be some of the key battlegrounds of this election," senior campaign strategist Russell Schriefer told reporters in Boston before the buses loaded up on a cloudless late spring day.
Schriefer was quick to mention that all six states "were won by President Obama in 2008, so we're certainly campaigning on their turf."
Romney has focused recently on urban events or fundraisers as he gears up for what is certain to be a monumentally expensive White House race, and his shift to a week of engaging with small-town America is seen as a new tactic of retail press-the-flesh appearances less than five months from the election.
"It's an opportunity for us to engage in some traditional campaigning," Schriefer said.
First stop is Scamman Farm in neighboring New Hampshire, the same farm where Romney launched his presidential bid last year with a speech that encapsulated much of what Romney focused on over the past several months.
That speech, Schriefer said, matched the message Romney's campaign pushed during the primary campaign and now in the general election race, that "this country is going in the wrong direction and it needs new leadership to turn it around."
He said the bus tour, making more than a dozen planned stops, is "an opportunity over the next five days to go to places that are a little off the beaten path, and visit towns and cities where people are really struggling in this Obama economy."
The sweeping New Hampshire property is owned by former state speaker of the house Doug Scamman, and Schriefer was challenged on how the farm might not be seen as representative of everyday Americans struggling to make ends meet.
"It's symbolic of where he started his journey," Schriefer said.
U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte -- occasionally mentioned as a possible Romney vice presidential pick -- will make an appearance in New Hampshire on day one.
On Saturday the bus tour shifts to Pennsylvania and then moves Sunday to Ohio, where Romney will "have a hamburger" with Speaker Boehner.
The campaign heads to Wisconsin and Iowa on Monday, and finishes the tour Tuesday in Michigan.
Team Romney was "casting a wide net" for people to attend the bus tour's events, which include an "ice cream social" later Friday in Milford, New Hampshire, as the campaign aims to reach out to independents and undecided voters.