Mitt Romney will begin a five-day bus tour through small towns in six battleground states this week.
The “Every Town Counts” tour starts in New Hampshire on Friday. Romney also kicked off his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination and his general election bid against President Obama in the Granite State.
The presumptive Republican nominee will then make stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan.
“For three and a half years, President Obama has paid little attention to the everyday concerns of the American people,” Romney said in a statement. “President Obama has offered no hope for the future, and he has left American families to bear the burden of his failed policies. Too many American families have experienced a lost job, faced foreclosure, or been forced to spend their kids' college savings just to make ends meet. These are not statistics — these are our fellow Americans. In America’s small towns, you don't find despair — you find boundless optimism. We know we can make America better, and that is why I am running for president.”
While most political analysts have identified all six of these as critical battleground states, only two of them — Iowa and Ohio — were identified by Public Opinion Strategies pollster Neil Newhouse in a presentation to Romney bundlers on the seven states he says offer the clearest path to victory for the former Massachusetts governor.
Still, the states Romney has decided to focus on at this early stage hold other strategic incentives.
While Obama still has a big lead in Michigan, many Republicans are hopeful that Romney will make a play for the state where he grew up and where his father was once governor. And New Hampshire is another state where Romney has close ties: He owns a vacation home there and it's near his home state of Massachusetts. Romney scored a convincing victory in New Hampshire at a rocky point for his campaign during the GOP primary.
Ohio is a toss-up and the quintessential battleground state with the third largest delegate prize of all the swing states. Obama and Romney also are knotted up in Iowa, a state Obama won easily in 2008.
Republicans just scored a big win in Wisconsin, where voters chose not to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R), and many believe that election galvanized the GOP base there. Obama’s support seems to be holding up in Pennsylvania, but outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the state has a large population of white, blue-collar workers that Obama has been unable to connect with.