When Mitt Romney announced his presidential exploratory committee this week, he did so from New Hampshire, and he mentioned Nevada. On Friday, he was in Florida. All three are scheduled to be among the first states holding presidential nominating contests in 2012.
So what about Iowa, where the leadoff caucuses will be held? Some have speculated the former Massachusetts governor might ignore the Hawkeye State -- he hasn't been there since last October -- but Romney on Friday pledged otherwise.
During a stop in Orlando, he was asked about Florida Republicans' drive to move their state's primary ahead of the Republican National Committee's approved window. Romney said he was staying out of the debate.
"I do know that I'll be in Iowa and New Hampshire, and I surely will be campaigning in this state," he said, according to our partners at the Orlando Sentinel.
The Iowa and South Carolina Republican Party chairmen have called on the RNC to pull the 2012 convention from Tampa if Florida goes ahead with its plan. The state's Speaker of the House this week offered to create a commission to study when the proper date for the state's primary should be. RNC rules say it can come no sooner than March 1.
The speculation is that because Iowa's caucuses are dominated by more socially conservative Republicans, Romney may opt against running a vigorous campaign there, focusing more on New Hampshire, where he owns a home. Romney finished second in both Iowa and New Hampshire during his 2008 run for the GOP nomination.
Romney also used his Florida trip to attack President Obama's deficit reduction plan, as he also did in an Orlando Sentinel guest column. He stopped short, however, of endorsing the proposal offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) that Republicans voted for in the House on Friday.
"I applaud the fact that we are now talking about this issue," he sad. "Chairman Ryan's plan is not identical, I imagine, to what I will to what I will be putting forward in a campaign that will potentially go forward. But it's the right step."
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