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Romney begins his small-town bus tour in NH

STRATHAM, NH -- Mitt Romney today kicked off his first major bus tour since clinching the Republican nomination with an event at the same family farm where he announced his candidacy for president just a year ago.

“Washington’s big government agenda should not smother small-town dreams. In the America we love, every town counts. Every job counts. And every American counts,” Romney told the 1,000-plus crowd at Scamman Farm. “In the days ahead, we'll be traveling on what are often called the 'back roads of America.' But I think our tour is going to take us along what I will call the 'backbone of America.'”

This event launched the campaign’s “Every Town Counts” bus tour that will bring the GOP nominee to six battleground states over the next five days: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan.

In a briefing to press at Romney headquarters in Boston, MA Friday morning, a campaign strategist noted that all states visited on the tour were won by President Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign.

"We're certainly campaigning on their turf as opposed to what would be considered our turf," strategist Russ Schriefer said.

As Romney addressed the crowd two planes flew overhead in the crystal blue sky, very reminiscent of his announcement day: “Romney for President 2012” [paid for by the campaign] and “Romney’s Every Millionaire Counts Tour” [from MoveOn.org] -- a sign of the ongoing battle between the two sides during this election cycle. The former governor was also very critical of Obama during his roughly 20-minute speech.

While mocking Obama’s long speech yesterday, Romney called him a “a detached and distant president.” 

"If there has ever been a president who has failed to give the middle class of America a fair shot, it is Barack Obama," Romney told the crowd. "I have a very different vision for America, and of our future. And I know what we must do to truly give our fellow Americans a fair shot and a better chance." 

Romney was joined in the small New Hampshire town by U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who has accompanied the former Massachusetts governor at his past three visits to her state.