Romney says he'll compete in Iowa but with leaner team

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks with AgVision Agriculture Software President and CEO Jose Laracuente, Friday, May 27, 2011, in Ankeny, Iowa. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Mitt Romney, Iowa
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks with AgVision Agriculture Software President and CEO Jose Laracuente, Friday, May 27, 2011, in Ankeny, Iowa.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Fresh off his announcement that he will officially enter the race for president next week in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney made an official visit to Iowa, hoping to play a role in that state's first-in-the-nation caucus.

Amid speculation that Romney would skip much of the Iowa nomination process, including this August's Straw Poll, the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 contender said he was committed to Iowa, but stopped short of saying he was committed to the entire Iowa process.

"I'm in Iowa today, I've been in Iowa during the exploratory phase, I'll be back in Iowa a number of times before the contest is complete," he said. "As to the tactics of a campaign and where you put your financial resources and time resources, that's something we'll figure out as we go along," he added.

Romney said called his campaign "lean," as it's clear he's trying to learn from his 2008 run and retain vital resources through the long campaign season.

He also appeared to learn from his competitor Tim Pawlenty, who after not taking a firm stand on the House GOP's Paul Ryan Medicare plan, said yesterday he would sign it if he was in office. When asked the same question today, Romney wouldn't say if he'd sign it, calling that speculation and "putting the cart before the horse." While applauding Ryan's courage, Romney kept his distance from the Ryan plan.

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"Before I have the privilege, hopefully, of debating President Obama, I will lay out a full Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid plan," said Romney today in Ankeny, Iowa. "I'm going to propose my own plan, and my plan will be somewhat different that what the Paul Ryan plan is, but I support the objectives of the Paul Ryan plan in terms of keeping Medicare alive, and keeping it solvent and keeping the nation solvent," he said.

Romney spoke to reporters after a tour of a small agriculture business. He said his primary focus is the economy.

"I'm going across the country talking to small businesses just like this in part because I'm concerned about the economy and about the fact that a lot of Americans aren't employed, a lot more people have stopped looking for jobs, and a lot of folks are employed in positions well below their capability," he said. "When it comes to the economy and jobs for the American people, President Obama has failed, his policies did not work."

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.

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