The state hasn't voted for a Republican candidate since 1988, but Romney is hoping his local ties could force President Obama to play defense in a traditionally solid-blue state. An EPIC-MRA poll released earlier this month showed Romney with a 1-point lead there, though subsequent polls have shown the president with an advantage.
The event, outside the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth, Mich., a German-themed tourist town, drew some 1,000 supporters according to campaign spokesman Rick Gorka. Romney held an economic roundtable with local business owners before addressing the rally.
During the speech, Romney continued to hammer the president's economic record.
"The people of this country are having a hard time. These are challenging times for Americans, and because of his failed record his campaign is having a hard time deciding what to talk about," Romney said.
Romney was introduced by Gov. Rick Snyder, whom the GOP candidate affectionately called a policy "geek" during his opening.
"Mitt is a person that has a vision, that has a plan and will act," Snyder said.
Romney has two additional Michigan stops Tuesday before concluding his bus tour.