Sarah Wheaton in the New York Times takes a look at the bus tour kick-off in New Hampshire:
Mitt Romney kicked off a five-day bus tour, an ambitious barnstormer through small-town America that was billed as an effort to introduce Mr. Romney to a new set of voters. And the first two events, including an ice cream social on the village green here, kept him solidly in his comfort zone. The scenery and theatrics of the first day of the bus trip set the tone the campaign hopes to convey over the coming days. After a live bluegrass show, with bales of hay in the background, Senator Kelly Ayotte introduced Mr. Romney as his campaign bus pulled up alongside the crowd on the Scamman Farm in Stratham. The music then switched from a Coplandesque anthem to Mr. Romney’s rock theme, “Born Free,” as he and his wife, Ann, traversed a catwalk to the stage, encircled by the audience. In some ways, the first day’s events seemed more of a warm-up than a representative example of the tour’s stated goals. At the tour’s outset, Mr. Romney’s strategist said it would take the candidate to places that are “not necessarily traditional campaign stops.” That could, of course, rule out the entire state of New Hampshire, given its prominent role in the primary process.
Reaching out for undecideds:
The campaign also said the crowds would not necessarily be packed with supporters. But people who turned out invariably had Romney stickers and said they had received tickets from the campaign or from other Republican connections. And some of them drove up from Massachusetts. That said, the two New Hampshire stops are in two of the three counties Mr. Obama won by the smallest margins in 2008: Rockingham County (Stratham), which Mr. Obama took by one percentage point, and Hillsborough County (Milford), which he won by three. Doug Rutt was in the crowd because Nancy Hubert Real Estate, where he is an agent, is across the street from the Milford Oval. Even after Mr. Romney’s speech, he remained undecided. “I’ve been pretty disappointed in all the candidates,” said Mr. Rutt, 64, who lives in nearby Brookline. “Nobody seems to have a good idea.” A registered independent, Mr. Rutt voted for Republicans until 2008, when he chose Mr. Obama. He called the economy’s improvement “anemic.” However, he does not want to see Mr. Romney return to George W. Bush’s economic policies by loosening banking regulations.