Milford, New Hampshire (CNN) – As he embarked on a carefully crafted bus tour through six battleground states, Mitt Romney found when it comes to driving the day's agenda, sometimes it's the man sitting in the White House who's behind the wheel.
The president's move Friday to halt the deportations of young illegal immigrants didn't change Romney's first campaign event at Scamman Farm, the same place in Stratham where he launched his presidential bid last June.
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Romney focused instead on Barack Obama's economic record. He did not respond to questions about the change in White House policy when he was greeting voters afterwards.
"As I look around at the millions of Americans without work, the graduates who can't get a job, the soldiers who return home to unemployment lines, it breaks my heart. It's the result of failed leadership and a faulty vision," he said. "I am running for president because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess. I am offering a real choice and a new beginning for the American people."
At his second campaign stop, after making informal remarks and serving ice cream in Milford's town square, Romney made a statement on immigration.
Throughout the primary season Romney adopted a hard-line stance on illegal immigration. He once said the undocumented should self-deport themselves back to their countries of origin and he vowed he would not sign the Dream Act, a bill designed to offer young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
"The question is if I were elected and Congress were to pass the Dream Act, would I veto it and the answer is yes," Romney said in Iowa on Dec. 31, 2011.
But after polls showed Romney far behind the president among Latinos, Romney advocated a GOP version of the Dream Act at a Florida fundraiser in April, saying "We're going to be able to get Hispanic voters…We're going to overcome the issue of immigration."
Romney then said he would consider a bill from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential vice presidential running mate, who is drafting such a proposal, but noted it does not provide a path to citizenship.
Before the president's immigration detour, Democrats were already trying to throw Romney's bus tour off-message.
The DNC launched its own rival bus tour and dubbed it "Romney economics: the middle class under the bus. While the liberal group Moveon.org sent out an SUV with a dog strapped to the roof, to tail the GOP contender. The black Cadillac Escalade circled The Milford Oval where his outdoor event was held.
Rival parties even engaged in an air war, of sorts. Moveon.org flew a plane above both New Hampshire events with the sign, "Romney's every millionaire counts tour."
The Romney campaign countered with their own plane and a sign that said, "Romney for president- 2012." One Romney campaign aide said, "We like to fight an air battle too."
Romney still worked his digs on the president's performance on the economy.
"He promised four more years. Four more years of the same," he said, adding pause for emphasis. "Four. More. Very. Long. Years."
The Obama campaign is already labeling Romney's comments on immigration an etch-a-sketch moment, but a top official with the Romney campaign told CNN they see this move by the president as an obvious attempt to pivot away from his speech on the economy, that even many liberals had dubbed a flop.