Romney Pushes Economic Message as His Campaign Continues its New Hampshire Focus

Throughout the 2012 presidential race former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has been the perceived Republican front runner, however he now faces a formidable challenge from Texas governor Rick Perry. Perry jumped into the race over the weekend and immediately flew to the 'first in the nation' primary state, attending a house party in Greenland, New Hampshire, meeting and greeting voters. But while Perry left for Iowa, Romney continues his New Hampshire push.

Romney has already invested a lot of political capital in New Hampshire, seeing the state as a must win for his White House bid. On Monday he continued to drive home his economic message, holding a forum in the small town of Plymouth, New Hampshire.

A Romney staffer at the event said it was 'invitation only.' That could be seen as an effort perhaps to avoid the kind of verbal confrontations that marred his brief visit to Iowa where his remarks were constantly interrupted by activists. Later Romney's camp said the event was actually open to the public.

And the New Hampshire crowd was much more receptive, with about 70 people politely listening to Romney's comments.

Four years ago Mitt Romney was all about crisply ironed shirts and conservative ties - but this time he's eschewed the business look for a more casual approach. But while his dress style has mellowed his demeanor has not. His campaign is all business, and the governor strictly sticks to his well rehearsed talking points. Lamenting the declining economy, Romney questioned President Obama's impending Martha's Vineyard vacation, saying "I wish he was in Washington, calling back Congress."

Romney has kept up a steady drum beat of criticism of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy and was unrelenting today. "He seems more concerned about keeping his own job instead of helping Americans find jobs," he said.

As President Clinton famously stated in his successful 1992 bid for the White House, "it's the economy stupid." With the threat of a double dip recession and Obama's numbers continuing to slide--today's Gallup presidential tracking poll shows his approval rating at 39 percent--the GOP candidate who best spells out a plan for economic recovery could end up with the Republican nomination. Perry claims under his leadership the Lone Star State has created as many as 40 percent of all new jobs nationally, while Romney constantly touts his experience at Bain Capital as evidence he's the best person to turn the country around.

Over the weekend, Perry said as president he'd veto spending bills from Congress until they get the message. Romney echoed those sentiments today, saying "we can't have a government that spends more than it takes in."