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Charlie Neibergall, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks with Janet Buss, of Dubuque, Iowa, during a campaign stop at Giese Manufacturing, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in Dubuque, Iowa.

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is trying to stay above the fray in the GOP nominating campaign.

The former Massachusetts governor is visiting eastern Iowa counties he won in his 2008 bid for the state's leadoff caucuses.

He's also sticking with his strategy of shadowing President Barack Obama and trying to present himself as the most electable Republican. Obama also visited eastern Iowa in the fall.

Romney stopped at a Dubuque manufacturer on Monday. He touted his private sector background and proposal to cut $500 billion from the federal deficit by the end of his first term.

Romney lately has spoken of winning Iowa, after campaigning lightly there this year.

A recent Des Moines Register poll shows him leading in the state along with businessman Herman Cain.