Romney campaigns from Mississippi river boat in Iowa

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"My family in my anchor. My wife, my kids. ... The Constitution is an anchor for America," Romney said, pledging to "restore the principles that made America, America."

The former Massachusetts governor also hammered President Obama on the economy, arguing that things were getting better in spite of — rather than because of — his policies.

"I know he's going to try to take credit for the sun rising in the East in the morning, but the truth is all recessions end," Romney said.

Romney has an additional stop late Monday afternoon in Davenport, Iowa. His tour then concludes Tuesday with a swing through Michigan, the state where he grew up and where his father served as a popular governor during his youth.