STRATHAM, N.H. - Mitt Romney, kicking off a bus tour through six swing states at the farm where his campaign began a year ago, derided President Obama on Friday as “detached and distant’’ and assailed his speech Thursday as a long-winded call for “four more very long years’’ of the same economic policies.
Speaking before about 2,000 people gathered by a large barn, Romney argued that his vision, and not the president’s, would better serve the country’s struggling middle class.
“If there has ever been a president who has failed to give the middle class of America a fair shot, it is Barack Obama,’’ Romney said. “From now until November, our campaign will carry a simple message: America’s greatest days are ahead.’’
The bus tour will be Romney’s most intense round of campaigning since he won the primaries.
From New Hampshire, Romney’s bus will travel to the swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa before ending up in Michigan, the state of Romney’s birth.
All were won by Obama in 2008.
Although New Hampshire has a much smaller number of electoral votes than the other states, Obama and Romney have visited it several times in the last few months and both campaigns have extensive operations here. In addition, Romney has a summer home near Lake Winnipesaukee.
At his speech kicking off the bus tour, Romney linked the president to rising poverty, lower wages, and increasing prices in the country.
He used the term “fair shot’’ repeatedly to jab the president for his insistence that higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans is a matter of fairness to help balance the budget and reduce the national debt. Instead, Romney said, a “fair shot’’ is needed for college graduates and returning veterans without jobs and for a middle class beset by lower wages and rising costs.
“Freedom and free enterprise are what create jobs, not government,’’ Romney said.
Following the speech, Romney traveled to Milford, where he participated in an ice cream social.
Romney’s bus tour, called “Every Town Counts,’’ is being shadowed by a caravan of Obama supporters that is calling itself the “Middle Class Under the Bus Tour.’’
The supporters gathered before Romney’s speech at a new Obama campaign office in Exeter, where speakers linked the Republican to the pursuit of profits over jobs during his career as head of the private-equity firm Bain Capital.
David Lang, president of the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire, told about 100 Obama supporters that “I don’t think New Hampshire will be buying the fertilizer [Romney will] be using’’ to rally voters.