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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Making his first campaign appearance in Colorado in 52 days, Republican Mitt Romney blamed President Barack Obama for the nation’s slow economic recovery and said he would bring about more job growth as president.

“I think to understand how to create jobs, you need to understand business,” Romney told a crowd his campaign estimated to be about 7,000 people, gathered under the bright lights on an athletic field at D’Evelyn Junior and Senior High School.

“I do understand it, because I’ve lived it.”

Romney, who last visited Colorado for an Aug. 2 rally at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, is scheduled to hold another rally in Pueblo on Monday before beginning a three-day bus tour in Iowa on Tuesday.

His running mate, Paul Ryan, will be campaigning in Fort Collins and Colorado Springs on Wednesday, the Romney campaign confirmed Sunday night.

“These promises he (Obama) has made, we don’t have to guess what the results are going to be,” Romney said. “We’ve seen the results, we don’t like the results, that’s why that man needs to get out of that office and let someone get there who will take America in a different course.”

Just moments before Romney took the stage, Public Policy Polling released a new survey of Colorado voters showing Obama leading Romney 51-45 in the state, up three points since their last survey three weeks ago.

With Obama appearing to open up a small lead in Colorado, as he has in other swing states like Ohio and Virginia, Romney promised to help clarify the choice before voters as he increases his stumping schedule and when he returns to Denver for the first presidential debate on Oct. 3.

Speaking to reporters on his plane Sunday en route to Colorado, Romney blamed Obama for mischaracterizing his positions and forcing him to take time setting the record straight.

“He’s trying to fool people into thinking that I think things that I don’t,” Romney told reporters on his campaign charter plane. “And that ends at the debates.”

Romney, who’s pushing for an across-the-board tax cut of 20 percent, told reporters that he doesn’t want to cut taxes for the rich, only for the middle class.

“He says I was in favor of liquidating the automobile industry – nothing could be further from the truth. He says I’m in favor of lowering taxes on wealthy people. No I’m not,” Romney said, taking issue with Democratic campaign commercials. “He keeps running these things even though he knows they’re wrong and saying them in rallies even though he knows they’re wrong.”

Romney is desperately trying to get back on offense after being buried last week by a video of his own comments at a private fundraiser where he described the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay taxes as “dependent on government” and unable to be convinced “to take responsibility for their own lives.”

In his speech here, Romney avoided any reference to his 47 percent gaffe, eschewing his new line, “I’m for 100 percent of America.”

Outlining his five-point plan to strengthen the economy and create 12 million jobs in his first term, Romney also ripped Obama for a weak foreign policy.

“‘Leading from behind,’ that’s just another word for being a follower,” Romney said.