BEDFORD, N.H. (AP) — Sharpening his message ahead of voting in Iowa and New Hampshire, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney argued Tuesday that President Barack Obama is pushing to make the United States more like Europe. Romney's allies, meanwhile, continued to aggressively criticize his chief rival for the GOP nomination.
Romney, a former businessman, was expected to tell voters in an evening speech that his policies would turn the U.S. into an "opportunity society" while Obama's would create an "entitlement society" with more people dependent on government welfare.
Romney's message contrasts with the argument the Democratic president has begun to articulate for his re-election, in which he calls for an economy that offers "fair play, a fair shot and a fair share."
Romney planned to remain focused on the campaign here in New Hampshire as his allies aggressively go after his chief rival, Newt Gingrich, on the Iowa airwaves.
Restore Our Future, a special political action committee, or "super PAC," that backs Romney on Tuesday launched a caustic new ad tying Gingrich to Freddie Mac, the quasi-government mortgage company, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
The spot also hits Gingrich for ethics violations and criticizes his record on abortion.
Romney refused to disavow the group's ads, saying it would be illegal for him to coordinate with the PAC. He did say that such groups are a "disaster" and have made a "mockery" of the presidential campaign.
"Campaign finance law has made a mockery of our political campaign season," Romney said Tuesday on MSNBC. "We really ought to let campaigns raise the money they need and just get rid of these super PACs."
A 2010 Supreme Court decision paved the way for such groups to accept unlimited amounts of money from donors who typically aren't identified. The political campaigns are limited to accepting $2,500 per donor.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was using Tuesday's speech to open four straight days of campaigning in New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary on Jan. 10. He must win the state if he hopes to become the Republican nominee.
Two weeks remain until voting begins Jan. 3 with the leadoff caucuses in Iowa, though Romney will focus on New Hampshire through Christmas in a sign of the state's importance to his political strategy.
Romney laid out his basic principles in an opinion piece published Tuesday in USA Today.
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