NEWINGTON, N.H. – Mitt Romney returned on Saturday to the state where he kicked off his campaign more than 16 months ago and where he currently trails in polls, asking voters for one more show of support in four days.
“New Hampshire got me the Republican nomination, and New Hampshire is going to get me the White House!” he told a crowd of more than a thousand that turned up on a brisk morning to see him off on a whirlwind of final campaign stops.
Romney has always held a special relationship with the Granite State, which is a neighbor to his home state of Massachusetts and where he has a summer home. Recent polls show President Obama with a slight edge in the state.
Romney reminded the audience of his time leading their neighboring state (“You may have heard I was governor next door, in Massachusetts”) and touted his work in reaching across the aisle. He attacked the president for being a partisan leader, and repeated his comments from Friday at a rally in Ohio, after Obama told a crowd that booed at the mention of Romney’s name that they should instead vote, because “voting is the best revenge.”
“Vote for revenge?” Romney asked the New Hampshire crowd. “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country. it is time we lead America to a better place.”
The Romney campaign released an ad on Saturday titled “Revenge or Love of Country,” showing Obama making the remarks and Romney’s rebuttal.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Saturday that the comment was prompted by what she called Romney's "scare tactics," such as an ad implying that auto jobs would be moved to China that has come under widespread criticism.
The Romney ad was "frightening workers in Ohio into thinking, falsely, that they're not going to have a job," Psaki said, according to Yahoo News. "And the message he was sending is if you don't like the policies, if you don't like the plan that Gov. Romney is putting forward, if you think that's a bad deal for the middle class, then you can go to the voting booth and cast your ballot."
During a subsequent conference call with reporters, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said Romney's argument "seems very small" as a final statement of his campaign. He also cited the auto ad and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani calling for Obama's resignation, referring to the latter as "the kind of thing you do in a banana republic."
In a sign that the Republican nominee is aware of how far he’s come and just how little time is left, Romney took a moment to reflect on the journey.
“We’ve journeyed far and wide in this great campaign,” he said. “We’ve had some long days, and some very short nights, but we are almost there.”
Romney also delivered the weekly Republican radio address, which amounted to a slimmed-down version of his standard stump speech. "The question of this election comes down to this: do you want more of the same or do you want real change?" he said. "President Obama promised change, but he could not deliver it. I promise change, and I have a record of achieving it."