HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is making stops in Connecticut and Rhode Island in advance of this month’s Republican presidential primaries in both states.

At his first stop, Romney appeared at Alpha Graphics in Hartford where he walked in to a crowd cheering, “Mitt, Mitt Mitt!”

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Romney is intensified his rebuttal of claims that he and fellow Republicans are insufficiently supportive of women, or even hostile to them.

For the second straight day the presumptive GOP nominee campaigned Wednesday at a female-owned work site and denounced Democrats for saying his party is waging “a war on women.”

Romney said the real war on women is being waged by what he called President Barack Obama’s failed economic policies.

The former Massachusetts governor said Obama’s economic policies have caused disproportionately high job losses for women.

Independent groups say the claim distorts the larger employment picture by ignoring key facts.

Later in the evening, he is expected to attend a small business town hall meeting in Warwick, R.I.

A recent Quinnipiac University Poll showed Romney with strong support in Connecticut, garnering 42 percent of the vote. He was followed by former Sen. Rick Santorum, who announced Tuesday he was suspending his campaign.

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With Santorum out of the race, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls Romney a formidable challenger to Obama.

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He said the way the president is campaigning and fundraising, it’s clear he realizes he has a fight on his hands.

“Barack Obama does not take the next election lightly,” Bloomberg said. “I think the public’s going to have a choice and both candidates are going to have an opportunity to express themselves.”

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Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York are also holding GOP presidential primaries on April 24.

Romney’s wife, Ann, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the Connecticut GOP’s annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner on April 23 in Stamford.

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