DES MOINES – Mitt Romney, whose campaign visits to Iowa so far have been few and far between, is planning a burst of activity here in the final week before Republicans begin picking a presidential nominee.
Romney will touch down in the Hawkeye State on Tuesday afternoon to deliver a speech in Davenport, where he is expected to present his closing argument to Iowa voters before the Jan. 3 caucus.
Aides said the address would be similar to one the former Massachusetts governor delivered last week in New Hampshire. In that speech, he framed the election as a choice between what he described as President Obama’s “entitlement society” that is dependent on government welfare and an “opportunity society” that enables businesses to flourish.
On Wednesday morning in Muscatine, Romney and his wife, Ann, will begin a three-day bus tour that will carry him across eastern and central Iowa.
Romney is dispatching a band of surrogates this week, some of them high-profile office-holders, to campaign for him across Iowa – either accompanying him on the stump or staging campaign events of their own.
According to a campaign official, the Romney surrogates include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who held a Romney event in West Des Moines a few weeks ago, and Sen. John Thune, who represents neighboring South Dakota and campaigned with Romney in Des Moines last month.
Most of the other candidates also are planning bus tours for this week as Iowa Republicans make up their minds on which candidate should become the GOP presidential nominee. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) began their tours earlier this month, while former House speaker Newt Gingrich will launch a 44-stop tour on Tuesday. Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum are planning to barnstorm the state, as well.
Other Romney surrogates include former senators Norm Coleman and Jim Talent, who represented neighboring Minnesota and Missouri, respectively, and who advise Romney on policy matters; Rep. Aaron Schock, who serves a rural Illinois district near the Iowa border; Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, one of Romney’s earliest backers in Congress; and former Utah governor Michael Leavitt, who served as health and human services secretary in President George W. Bush’s administration and is a close adviser to Romney.
Three of Romney’s five adult sons – Matt, Josh and Craig – are also expected to hit the campaign trail this week.