DERRY, N.H. With 24 hours to go before the New Hampshire primary, it's a six-city campaign day for Mitt Romney.
Starting at 7 a.m. in Nashua, the former Massachusetts governor greeted employees at BAE Systems, a defense contractor that's the largest employer in New Hampshire. It was then on to Mary Ann's Diner in Derry and then a tour of the Timberland Corp. in Stratham. That's all before 10:30 a.m. EST.
"It's a lot of retail political stops," said Eric Fehrnstrom, traveling press secretary for the campaign.
Later, Romney's scheduled to hit Salem and Bedford for two more "Ask Mitt Anything" events and end up in Manchester to meet with his local campaign volunteers.
The latest CNN/WMUR New Hampshire poll still has Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leading over Romney, who ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, based on 268 voters polled.
But the voters that are still undecided and the independents can still play a major role in Tuesday's contest. In New Hampshire, independent voters can opt to vote for either party's election.
"In Iowa the wild card were the evangelicals, where in New Hampshire the wild card can be the independents," Fehrnstrom said.
If independents choose to support Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who has a sizable lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Fehrnstrom said it would "lead to a more pure primary with Republican voters and I think that is to Mitt Romney's benefit."
After the Fox News forum between five Republican candidates Sunday night, a majority of people in a focus group convened by the network thought Romney did the best job. By show of hands only, most of the group came without allegiance to any candidate and by the end of the forum, also by show of hands, said they were going for Romney.
The Sunday night discussion had a different demeanor than Saturday's pile-on by the other candidates for Romney.
As McCain and Romney again discussed their differences over immigration policy, particularly their definitions of amnesty, McCain said: "We need to get beyond this."Coming into New Hampshire, Fehrnstrom said the campaign expected more of a foreign policy debate from McCain, but so far the discussions have focused on immigration and taxes, which is "where we want to be."
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