Council Bluffs (Iowa): Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sent his new running mate to the Midwestern state of Iowa on Monday, testing his campaign mettle against Barack Obama as the President began a bus tour of the battleground state that launched his successful run for the White House four years ago.
Notably, Romney was not taking Rep Paul Ryan with him to Florida, where the vice presidential candidate`s plans to overhaul government health care for the elderly was not likely to find a welcoming audience. The key swing state is heavily populated by older Americans who rely on the Medicare program.
Three months from Election Day, polls find Obama with a narrow lead over Romney in a race defined by a weak economy and high unemployment. But Romney enjoyed the biggest crowds of his campaign so far over the weekend after announcing Ryan as his running mate on Saturday.
Ryan, a favourite of the small-government, low-tax tea party wing of the Republican Party, brings to the Romney campaign an austere message on government spending, one designed over the coming decades to diminish the US debt. He also brings enthusiasm from the party`s conservative base, which has only reluctantly backed Romney because of the moderate positions he once took on social issues. Ryan is against abortion rights and has a top rating from gun-rights groups.