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Published: Sunday, 6/17/2012

Romney detours from protesters

GOP hopeful visits small Pa. towns


QUAKERTOWN, Pa. -- As President Obama kept up the pressure on congressional Republicans on Saturday to work with him on policies designed to spur hiring, Republican challenger Mitt Romney also focused on middle-class economic issues as his bus tour wound through Pennsylvania.

But Democrats in the Keystone State pushed the likely Republican presidential nominee off his original itinerary.

Mr. Romney rerouted his tour after former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and several other Democratic officials held a news conference outside the Wawa Inc. gas station and convenience where the former Massachusetts governor had planned an afternoon stop. Protesters gathered outside the store.

So Mr. Romney decided to visit a different Wawa store.

"Why we're at this Wawa, instead of the other Wawa?" Mr. Romney said. "I understand I had a surrogate over there already, so we decided to pick a different place. My surrogate is former Governor Rendell, who said we could win Pennsylvania."

"I think we have to have a very careful review of who's giving a fair shot to the American people," Mr. Romney told a crowd of several hundred packed into a warehouse at Weatherly Casting and Machine Co., next to the train tracks that run through Weatherly, Pa., about 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

The stop was the first of three planned appearances in small towns in this state with 20 electoral votes that Mr. Obama won in 2008 with 54 percent.

No Republican presidential nominee has carried the state since 1988.

Mr. Romney is on a bus tour, but he planned to fly each night to the next state and ride from town to town during the day.

It's his first traditional campaign swing since the primary and is aimed at undecided voters in pivotal states won by Mr. Obama four years ago: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa.

Meanwhile, during his weekly radio address, the President outlined a long list of proposals that have been stalled in Congress for months and chided Republicans for seeming to prefer to wait until after the Nov. 6 election rather than talk about finding a way forward now.

"Just this past week, one of them said, 'Why not wait for the reinforcements?' That's a quote. And you can bet plenty of his colleagues are thinking the same thing," Mr. Obama said.

This was an apparent reference to a remark by Jim Jordan, a Republican representative from Ohio, who was reported to have said that postponing fiscal policy decisions until after the election made sense, if one thought Republicans would win.

Mr. Jordan represents the 4th congressional district in the north-central portion of Ohio that includes Findlay, Lima, Mansfield, Kenton, Sidney, and Bellefontaine.

Mr. Obama has claimed repeatedly that Republicans are finding excuses not to work with him in an effort to thwart policies that might improve the pace of U.S. growth and confine him to a single White House term.

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