Romney ramps it up
CONCORD, N.H. — Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is shifting into a higher gear.
The former Massachusetts governor, who leads national and state polls in the race for the GOP nomination, has spent much of the year laying low, limiting his public appearances and rarely weighing in on the national debate.
That started changing Monday as Romney visited New Hampshire just as the most important week yet in the Republican race got under way. A nationally televised debate was set for Thursday, two days ahead of a test vote by Iowa Republicans and an expected announcement by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is likely to enter the race.
In a slate of New Hampshire appearances, Romney came across as a candidate who no longer is content to run out the clock as his lesser-known opponents fight for money and momentum.
His schedule for the day — his first visit to New Hampshire in three weeks — suggested a busier campaign: He held three voter forums and two sessions with reporters.
Romney also made repeated statements about the nation's credit troubles and aggressively went after President Barack Obama, blaming him in the wake of the downgrade in the nation's credit rating for "failed leadership."
"Stop attacking, take responsibility and lead," Romney said of Obama, while touting his own experience in Massachusetts. "We had a credit upgrade as opposed to what you're seeing right now, which is a credit downgrade."
The candidate's engagement in the issue of the day was notable, given that members of his own party criticized him for playing a passive role in the weekslong debate about the nation's debt ceiling