ABC News’ Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone) reports:
PELLA, Iowa — Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who, unlike many of his rivals, has largely been a stranger in Iowa over the past few months came here on Wednesday to make a prediction.
President Obama, Romney said, “won’t carry Iowa in November 2012. He won’t carry Iowa because Iowans recognize that his presidency has failed.”
Romney said he was confident in his own prospects in next year’s caucuses here — “I think I’ll win it if I’m the nominee.”
“You’ll see me plenty in Iowa,” Romney told reporters after holding a roundtable discussion with business leaders at a manufacturing company in this central Iowa town. “I’d like to do darn well in those caucuses."
Though he has not set foot in the state since May, Romney noted he will be participating in Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, but he defended his decision not to compete in the Ames Straw Poll.
“I want to use our financial resources to participate in actual election contests that generate delegates,” he said, adding: “I think the people of Iowa are far less concerned about the process of politics and far more concerned about the future of America.”
Speaking to reporters in front of a soybean field on a crystal clear day here, Romney also lashed out at President Obama for his planned bus tour of several Midwestern states — including this one — next week.
“I think the American people would have preferred having him do the work that he was elected to do, which is to go to work to get people back to work," he said. "The last two and a half years have not been good years for Americans."
“I hope that on his bus tour he actually takes the time to get off the bus and sit down with business people,” Romney said, “and ask them whether the policies he’s put in place over the last two and a half years have helped or hurt enterprise and jobs in America.”
If he were president, Romney added, “I sure as heck wouldn’t be on a bus tour.”
Romney offered a considerably more charitable assessment of a new rival for the Republican nomination — Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who plans to announce this weekend that he is jumping into the race and will make his way to three critical primary states, including Iowa.
“I’ll get a full view, I’m sure, of all the successes of Governor Perry,” Romney said. “He’s a fine man and a fine governor and the record of Texas, I think, speaks for itself.”
Romney who plans to drop by the Iowa State Fair on Thursday, observed that the last time he was there it was hot and humid in Iowa.
“The weather is markedly improved this cycle,” Romney said.