With promises to "take back" America, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a pitch for votes Saturday morning in Newington during a brief stop at the Portsmouth International Airport.
"We are almost there, and the door to opportunity is open and we're going to walk through it. Come walk with me. Walk together to a better place. We have got to take back this country," an energized Romney told a crowd of supporters who waved flags, patriotic pom-poms and Romney/Ryan signs outside the airport.
The former Massachusetts governor was joined by a parade of past and present politicians from New Hampshire and elsewhere, including Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne, who placed his own large campaign signs around the bleachers to encourage voters to back him and not his Democratic opponent, Maggie Hassan, to avoid "Obama-Hassan stagnation."
Arguing that President Barack Obama's presidency has been filled with broken promises, Romney asked voters on Tuesday to give him a chance to put his business experience and accomplishments as governor to work in Washington.
"The President has more promises, but we know where his promises will lead. The same place as last time, not to jobs, not to reducing the deficit, not to lowering health insurance costs. All of those things are going to be worse off," he said.
Romney said he will boost the economy, create more jobs, increase trade and improve education and job-skills training. He also vowed to cut federal spending, balance the budget and help small businesses prosper.
Romney said he'll work with leaders in the House and Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, and find those who are "willing to put the interests of the people ahead of the interest of politics.
But in a statement issued after his remarks, Obama for America spokesman Lis Smith criticized Romney, saying he won't bring "real change" and can't be trusted to work across the aisle as President "because he's never done it before."
"Despite his claims in the final days of this race, Romney refused to work with Democrats as governor. And throughout this campaign, he has shown himself to be too weak to stand up to the far-right wing of the Republican Party - whether it's Grover Norquist, Richard Mourdock or the architects of Republican obstruction in Congress," she said in a written statement.
In Ohio on Saturday, Obama touted his administration's auto industry bailout in the U.S. industrial heartland while hammering at Romney's earlier opposition to the government-orchestrated rescue.
"Look, I understand that Governor Romney's having a hard time here in Ohio because he was against saving the auto industry," he said.
The President's attack on Romney was paired with his pitch for a second term.
"Governor Romney, he's a very talented salesman - in this campaign, he has tried to repackage the same policies that didn't work and offer them up as change," the President told cheering supporters in a crowded high school gymnasium. "Ohio, we know what change looks like, and what he's offering ain't it."
Meanwhile, Romney found plenty of support from New Hampshire voters.
"We really just think that he's going to be the best choice for the economy," said John St. Pierre, 27, a Republican from Portsmouth. "He really believes in the core principles of America,''
St. Pierre's wife, Alexandra, 25, said the biggest issue is the economy, and she feels Romney has a "great track record" and will be able to turn it around.
"Barack Obama really doesn't stand for what American was founded on, and we really want to get back to those core principles. A lot of agendas he's pushing and the things he's talking about really don't reflect what we, as the American people, want," she said.
Sarah Bowden, 74, of Hampton is an independent voter who's supporting Romney. She voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008 because she "liked what he stood for" and didn't know Obama well.
"He was more like a rock star," she said.
As for Romney, Bowden said, "I just like his attitude and the background that he's got, the business background. I think we need it right now. I respect Obama, but I'm just not happy with what he's been doing."
Republican Jean Murray, 71, of Raymond said she was drawn to Romney because of his business experience.
"I believe he's an honest person, and he believes in family values. He has, I think, good plans for recovering from the economic crisis we're in," she said.
Disabled Army veteran Andrew Dow, 47, of Farmington had other reasons for backing Romney.
"He's not for unlimited abortion. I'm against the amount of unborn children that are going to die if there's unlimited abortion. I think in certain circumstances it is viable to abort," he said.
- - - - - - - -Includes reports from the Reuters news service. Jason Schreiber may be reached at email@example.com.