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Romney campaigns for small-business vote in VA

Associated Press Modified: May 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm •  Published: May 2, 2012

CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) — Kicking off his Virginia campaign, Republican Mitt Romney said Wednesday he'll do "the opposite" of what President Barack Obama has done to help the economy. His wife, Ann, chipped in by appealing to women voters in a key region of a state both candidates will fight over until November's election.

"What I would do? People ask me, 'What would you to get the economy going?' and I say, 'Well look at what the president's done and do the opposite,'" Romney told a group gathered at a warehouse in northern Virginia.

Romney also mocked Obama's recently unveiled slogan: "Forward."

"Forward is his new slogan, and it's like, forward, what, over the cliff?" Romney joked Wednesday night with donors who gathered at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, just outside Washington.

Romney was in the Washington area to raise money and hold a series of meetings at the Republican National Committee, where he's working to integrate his campaign with the national party apparatus. He planned a meeting Wednesday with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

Priebus and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell introduced Romney at the evening fundraiser, the first such event that was opened to media coverage. Only two reporters were given access to Romney's 20-minute speech to donors, and no television cameras or photographers were allowed inside.

The northern Virginia suburbs of Washington are a region of a key swing state that will be critical for Romney. Obama won Virginia in 2008 after back-to-back Republican victories by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Romney aides say driving up Republican turnout in this area of the state could make a difference for the former Massachusetts governor. The campaign moved Iowa operative Sara Craig, partially credited for Romney's stronger-than-expected performance in the Iowa caucuses, to Virginia to run the state in the general election.

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