Image: Mitt Romney
Cheryl Senter  /  AP
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney works the room before addressing the Rotary Club at the Red Hook Ale brewery in Portsmouth, N.H., Thursday, July 14, 2011.
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updated 7/15/2011 11:53:30 AM ET 2011-07-15T15:53:30

The address hasn't changed, but Mitt Romney's Granite State headquarters is not the same place it was four years ago.

Half as many staffers occupy the plain Elm Street office, tucked between the Manchester Music Mill and Van Otis Chocolates. Long tables that once held volunteer phone banks sit empty. And only one person who led Romney's 2008 New Hampshire presidential primary campaign remains.

"In general, the output is leaner and meaner. That's really not a slogan because truly, that's the way it is," said Jason McBride, who is in charge of Romney's New Hampshire campaign this year. "We're doing the same or more with less."

The smaller footprint partly is reflective of a candidate who is universally known here, having spent millions to build a New Hampshire organization that earned a second-place finish in 2008. But the new strategy also helps Romney stockpile cash for what his team says could be a lengthy and expensive nomination battle extending well beyond the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Video: The Romney ad that never aired (on this page)

The former Massachusetts governor already enjoys a substantial cash advantage over the rest of the GOP field, with $12.6 million in his campaign account at the end of June.

His New Hampshire operation is significantly smaller than four years ago, with seven staffers and one consultant on the payroll compared with 14 at this point during the 2008 campaign. Even so, the New Hampshire operation is far larger than Romney's efforts in other early voting states, underscoring the emphasis he is placing on a strong showing in the nation's first primary. Romney has just three paid staff in Iowa, two in South Carolina and one in Florida, according to Williams. His national headquarters in Boston employs dozens.

"The fact that they have fewer staff this time than last time I think is less important than what they do with their staff," said Jamie Burnett, who was political director for Romney's 2008 New Hampshire operation but isn't aligned with a candidate this year. "This time it seems that they're acknowledging the fact that New Hampshire is the most important state for them. They have to win it."

Video: Romney raises money abroad (on this page)

Romney's lead senior adviser in New Hampshire, Jim Merrill, downplays any perceived advantage that Romney may have as the former governor of a neighboring state who owns a New Hampshire summer home.

"New Hampshire's very unique. It requires your time and it requires your effort. And it's not to be taken lightly or for granted," he said. "People are wearing different hats, maybe more hats. We're doing more with less. But it doesn't reflect the candidate's time. He's up here a lot. He'll be up here a lot more."

Romney's visit to the state Thursday was his ninth day of public appearances in New Hampshire since launching his campaign last month. That's eight more than any other state.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: The Romney ad that never aired

  1. Closed captioning of: The Romney ad that never aired

    >>> welcome back to "hardball." mitt romney may have more than a surging michele bachmann to worry about. he's been tallying his successful run as evidence he can create jobs. take a look at this. it's an ad by senator ted kennedy in his arsenal but chose not to use it in his run against romney back in '94.

    >> mitt romney says he saved bane and company but didn't tell you on the day he took over he had his predecessor fire hundreds of employees. the way the company was rescued with a federal bailout of $10 million. according to the globe romney 's company famed to repay at least $10 million to a failed bank and the rest of us had to absorb the bank. romney , he andloss. romney and others made $4 million in the deal that cost others $10 million. romney is against government when it helps working men and women.

    >>> a democratic strategist who was in charge of creating an ad for kennedy and maggie who work for politico who first recorded on the ad. maggie, let me ask you about the ad. this gets to the crux of the ad. he runs not because he had a successful career in public life np in one term, he probably wouldn't have been re-elected. yet he talks about being a job creator. is he?

    >> it is the devils in the details. i think he will be hit on this. you see the democrats luring him into the fight. he is being tweeted about the job creation in massachusetts. an bain has been in his existence, no pun intended, i n every run. i think will see this from the republicans.

    >> tell us about the factual basis you nd making that ad.

    >> well, the ad is entirely accurate. it was a report in the boston globe . the reason we didn't run the ad is that senator kennedy at one time was slightly behind romney , far ahead after he crushed him in a debate. then after we ran a series of other ads from workers in a company he had taken over who lost their jobs, been fired, had their health benefits taken away. i think it is a big problem for him, chris, in republican primaries . it was a federal bailout. everybody in america who had a savings account or checking account in america helped bay for it. people in michigan will say, this is a guy who didn't want to bailout the auto industry but took a $10 million bailout for himself.

    >> i remember the ad and in that debate kennedy was able to point out the fact that mitt romney didn't know the details after healthcare bill which he said, being a legislator is what it is all about. let's show an ad that kennedy did run. let's show this one.

    >> i would like him to show me where the 10,000 jobs that he created are.

    >> i don't like romney creating jobs because he took every one of them away.

    >> i worked there 30 years. and i never dreamed i would losely job.

    >> mitt romney says he helped create 10,000 jobs. former workers in indiana say something else.

    >> if he created jobs, i wish he could create some here, you know, instead of take them away.

    >> isn't this the problem of what equity companies do off then. they go to a company in trouble and fire people and they ready it for sale and make money. the very nature of the job that they follow. it cost jobs.

    >> absolutely. no question. this is why there is such a double-edged sword for mitt romney . he would say be i made 10,000 jobs. now he is not getting into specifics and is opening remarks when he declared for president. he said, i created some jobs. i won't successful. i think this is a huge issue for him. i agree, not just in the republican primary . also in the democratic against democrat in the general election . this is the sole thing people are focused on right now. that ad that you just showed is an incredibly effective ad because it is real people . you will see more of that coming out.

    >> bob, tell us what you can about the record of bain capital in doing the chop shop work that a lost equity firms do, which is buy, sell and fire people .

    >> you are a stranger. it is easy to fire people when you don't know anybody. these companies are good at it.

    >> chris, you're absolutely right. that's what they do. and that's how they make money. you know, at the same time, bit way, he was getting this $10 million bailout, he and his partners were also taking $4 million from the take over of bain. but what makes that ad and i think it is going to be the real people , not just an aggregated set of statistics that are fourl against him, what makes it so powerful, is that it's hard enough to run against your opponent. to have to run against real blue collar americans that you have hit is very, very difficult. these folks, spoke in their own words, why i had written a script. as soon as the ted describe started filming, he said we don't need the script. these folks want to say their own thing. they were so powerful and so, you know, they came it massachusetts. it took a few dayes it meet with them which kept the story alive. i assume he got advice.

    >> this is big part of the campaign. if he gets the nomination.

    >> no question, it is a big part of the campaign before that. he will see, in this ad, this is the model for other things. he will point to parts of his record where they created jobs. he had successful staples for instance but such a mixed bag that it is extremely hard for him to point to. somewhat like list healthcare record where there is not a great answer. he really needs one or else he is not going to go much further.

    >> a thin record thp thank you. what a great ad. you probably should have ran all those ads, just to run up the score .

    >> we won by 20 points.

    >> i hate to tell you, it wasn't the ad, it was the debate. he killed the guy in the debate.

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