- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HUDSON, N.H. (AP) - Mitt Romney returned to a familiar company in a familiar state Wednesday to campaign for Republican Senate hopeful Scott Brown, arguing that Obama administration policies backed by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen are hurting small businesses.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential nominee, joined Brown at Gilchrist Metal Fabricating, where Romney once campaigned for president.

“This time it’s gonna turn out better,” joked Romney, who finished second in the 2008 New Hampshire GOP primary, won it in 2012 but lost both New Hampshire and overall in the general election.

Romney described Brown as an independent thinker and repeated Brown’s frequent refrain that the Democratic incumbent is a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama.

“His polices are on the ballot, and the name of those policies is Jeanne Shaheen, and that’s why she’s got to go,” said Romney, who said Shaheen’s support for a cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse gases and for what he called a “national energy tax” would drive up electricity prices and kill jobs.

Shaheen, who denies backing a national energy tax, voted for a 2013 budget resolution that would not have enacted a tax on oil, gas and coal usage but described how any money generated from such a tax in the future would be spent. Romney insisted those votes are at odds with her campaign rhetoric about supporting small businesses.

“There’s a big ravine between Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Jeanne Shaheen in Washington,” Romney said.

Republicans across the country have been hoping to pick up seats by tying Democratic candidates to the increasingly unpopular president. Brown, a former Massachusetts senator who moved to New Hampshire last year to challenge Shaheen, noted that while Obama hasn’t come to New Hampshire, “he’s already been here for six years with the failed policies Jeanne Shaheen has supported.”

The crowd also heard from Jack Gilchrist, owner of the metal fabricating company, who was featured in a 2012 Romney ad. At the time, Republicans had seized on a snippet of a speech in which Obama described the importance of government investments in roads and bridges and other infrastructure and said, “If you’ve got a business - you didn’t build that.”

Gilchrist accused the president of “demonizing” small businesses and his family’s hard work. He later told the New Hampshire Union Leader that he had received several federal contracts, a U.S. Small Business Administration loan and tax-exempt revenue bonds, but he said he viewed that help as getting some of his tax dollars back.

“I know we’ve had lots of help, but we do pay our taxes and contribute to society,” Gilchrist said Wednesday, before describing his company’s struggle with rising health care and energy costs.

Though the audience included few women, Brown’s wife used her introduction to defend her husband against Shaheen’s recent claims that women can’t trust Brown on the issues of equal pay, access to contraceptives and abortion rights. As a Massachusetts state senator, Brown sponsored a bill that would have required doctors to give women seeking abortions information including pictures of developing fetuses.

“Scott Brown loves women, and he will protect you no matter what,” Gail Huff Brown said.

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