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Romney strikes optimistic tone as final weekend opens


NEWINGTON, NH — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney struck an upbeat note as he opened the final weekend of his campaign in the state where he launched his campaign more than 16 months ago.

"I've got a clear and unequivocal message for you: America is about to come roaring back," Romney told a chilly crowd of more than 1,000 supporters gathered to see him off for a busy Saturday of campaigning.

Romney also thanked the Granite State for its support in the Republican primary, and said they would be key to his presidential aspirations on Tuesday. The latest NBC/WSJ/Marist poll, released this week, shows Romney locked in a statistical dead heat here against President Barack Obama; the president leads 49 to 47 percent among likely voters, within the poll's margin of error.

"New Hampshire got me the Republican nomination and New Hampshire is going to get me the White House," Romney said to cheers.

From here, Romney campaigns across Iowa and Colorado on Saturday, with a packed Sunday schedule to follow that also takes him to four battleground states. Romney will next return to New Hampshire on Monday, but left behind today a team of top surrogates to barnstorm the state in his absence: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who joined New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte in introducing Romney here this morning.

Romney shortened his typical stump speech this morning, but left room for a critique of Obama, telling his audience here that "talk is cheap," and that the president "wants to convince you to settle."

"Americans don’t settle – we dream, we aspire, we reach for greater things," Romney said. "And we will achieve greater things with new leadership. "