By Justin Sink
Mitt Romney is launching a bus tour next week with running mate Paul Ryan in the crucial state of Ohio, after remaining mostly off the campaign trail this week to furiously fundraise for his presidential bid.
According to the Romney campaign, Romney and Ryan will participate in a three-day “Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class” swing through the Buckeye State; no Republican has ever won the White House without securing Ohio, and it is likely Romney will need to do so this year in his matchup against President Obama.
The two candidates won't actually campaign together. Ryan will attend a Monday event in Lima and a Tuesday event in Cincinnati. Romney, meanwhile, will appear in Dayton on Tuesday before a packed Wednesday that will see the nominee visit Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo.
Romney has only held 14 campaign rallies since accepting the Republican nomination 20 days ago — much of his time being devoted to closed-door private fundraisers — so the intensified pace represents a shift in strategy as Election Day nears.
That schedule has drawn some criticism from Republican allies, who believe Romney should focus more on retail politics.
"I think what Romney needs to do is get into Virginia and run for sheriff," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN on Wednesday. "This is not rocket science."
That said, Romney has not been significantly outpaced by Obama. Over the past two months, the president has participated in 54 campaign events to Romney's 53 events.