"I think President Obama had just put this in his column," Romney said during a sweltering event inside Monterrey Mills, a textile factory in southern Wisconsin. "He just assumed at the very beginning Wisconsin was going to be his. But you know what? We're going to win Wisconsin."
But if Romney intends to compete in Wisconsin -- a state that hasn't voted for a Republican for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984 -- recent data show how difficult this task will be.
While Gov. Walker less than two weeks ago won his recall election by nearly 7 percentage points, exit polling suggested Obama would handily beat his opponent in November. Romney was trailing the President 51-45 percent, with 18 percent of people who voted for Walker saying they would still vote for President Obama.
Romney stayed on message during the fourth leg of his five-day bus tour through rural areas of the Northeast and Midwest, accusing the president of shrinking away from his responsibility to create jobs.
"I am going to make that my number one job," he declared. "I am going to go into office and not push it aside to the Congress... . I am not going to push that over to them and say ‘Well, you take care of the economy.' "
And in an effort to capitalize on Romney's visit, Wisconsin Republicans took a victory lap today, with top representatives from the state appearing along with the presumed GOP nominee. Along with Walker, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan (a potential VP pick), GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, and RNC Chairman (and Wisconsin native) Reince Priebus all made appearances.