MASON CITY, Iowa--If there was any mystery about whether Mitt Romney is competing to win in Iowa, it's been ended by the candidate's schedule in the coming days.
The former Massachusetts governor, who is set to wrap up a bus tour of the state with a rally tonight in Ames, heads to New Hampshire Friday but will return to Iowa a little more than 24 hours later. Between Saturday and Tuesday, Romney will hold nine campaign events across the state before finishing with a caucus night rally in Des Moines.
At a town hall here on Thursday, a voter told Romney some people are skeptical about his bid for the Republican presidential nomination because the candidate hasn't competed here as heavily as he did four years ago.
"I want to win Iowa, " Romney insisted. "Everybody does."
At one point, an eight-year-old boy asked Romney, "Is it hard running for president?"
Romney grinned. "Yes and no," he laughed. "Sorry. That sounds like a politician. I apologize."
He touched on the grind of political life: "It's hard in terms of getting up early in the morning, sleeping in a strange bed almost every night, one hotel after the other … And sometimes you don't sleep so well."
The night before last, Romney said, he awoke throughout the night because trucks kept honking at his campaign bus, which was parked in a hotel parking lot near a major interstate.
"But the best part of campaigning is doing what I am doing now: it's meeting people across the country and making friends," Romney said. "The measure of a person's life is not how much stuff they have. It's how many people they love; how many friends they have."
He called running for president "the greatest opportunity" he's had.
"So if you get the chance to do it," he said, "make sure and do it. Win or lose, it's a good thing to do."
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