(Charlie Neibergall/AP)SIOUX CITY, IOWA--The last time Mitt Romney visited Sioux City, he delivered a speech aimed squarely at the social conservatives who dominate the region. He spoke passionately about his "moral convictions" and family values and reiterated his opposition to abortion, amid criticism of his late-in-life conversion on the issue.
But that was four years ago.
When Romney made his return to Western Iowa on Thursday, abortion came up only once, during a slightly awkward back and forth with a woman who pressed Romney on his stance on birth control.
"I don't (oppose birth control)," Romney insisted, obviously eager to change the subject. "Life begins at conception; birth control prevents conception."
Romney quickly navigated the focus back to the economy, the driving issue behind his second bid for the White House, and very much his preferred topic on the campaign trail.
In appearances throughout the day on Thursday, Romney stood before voters talking up his private-sector experience. And, in a page straight out of Barack Obama's 2008 playbook, he cast himself as a change agent determined to get the nation back on track, in part by working with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington.
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