Mr. Gingrich has secured the endorsement of the Union Leader, the state’s largest newspaper, which has picked previous winners and holds sway in conservative circles. Mr. Paul, the congressman from Texas, has strengthened his support from his 2008 bid. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is starting to see gains after focusing almost all his attention on the state.
With that as a backdrop, Mr. Romney’s three-day bus tour is taking him through old mill towns and rural working-class counties in a part of the state that locals refer to as a the “north country” - a thinly populated region with conservative leanings.
“Blizzards, hurricanes - they show up,” Steve Duprey, a New Hampshire Republican National Committeeman, said of the activists in the region. “Those voters are intense voters.”
Patrick Griffin, senior fellow at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, said the “Earn It” bus tour was smart politics and good optics for Mr. Romney heading into the Christmas weekend.
“It sets a tone for the holiday that Romney is not taking anything for granted in New Hampshire,” Mr. Griffin said.
With Sen. Kelly Ayotte, former Gov. John H. Sununuand wife Ann Romney at his side Wednesday, Mr. Romney made four campaign stops across the state. He vowed to increase military spending while cutting federal spending. He also cast himself as a Washington outsider and reinforced his message that after spending 25 years working in the private sector and four years in government, he has developed the skills and know-how needed to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.
“I intend to get America working like this company,” Mr. Romney told about 100 employees at local manufacturer of plasma cutters in Hanover.
The bus tour rolls to a close Friday.
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