CONCORD, N.H. - As the bus tour concluded after its fifteenth and final stop - Mitt and Ann Romney dropping money into a Salvation Army donation bin as Mrs. Claus looked on - the candidate himself declared the tour a "great" success.
"It's been great," Romney said just outside his campaign bus, muddied from the snowy New Hampshire roads. "It's been fun to be able to see so many friends across the state and have some time with Ann and people on the bus as well."
"The sense of growing momentum is pretty clear," he said. "At each event we go to we get enthusiastic response, people who said they are going to be supporting me. I was amazed I've had a number of folks who are Democrats, independents who say 'look I didn't help you last time but I'm going to help you this time.' I think people recognize that the president didn't do the job he said he would and they want someone new."
The third day of his bus tour took him through Tilton and then on to Concord, where Romney and his wife Ann bought toys at a local toy store for charity. Balancing boxes of dolls and toys in his arms, Ann helped pick out toy cars, Romney at one point asking the sales clerk if batteries were included.
The Romneys then walked, hand in hand, to the Granite State Candy Shoppe, where they picked out gummy bears and chocolate-covered cherries.
Ann, insisting on the dark chocolate variety, noted that if she was going to eat chocolate it "might as well be the healthy kind."
Asked what he's buying his kids and grandkids for Christmas, Romney said he'd ordered the grandkids gifts on Amazon and his own kids are getting checks.
"They're happy with checks, I hope, this year," said Romney.
The next stop was Dos Burritos, a Mexican joint where Romney ate lunch with the winner of the "Win a Bite with Mitt" contest, law school student Soren Dorius from Toledo, Ohio.
While the day was nearly entirely consumed with retail politicking, Romney still offered a biting answer when asked what his Christmas wish is for President Barack Obama.
"For the president I think a permanent vacation following the November elections next year would be great," said Romney, smirking.