By Jason McLure
CONCORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) - White House hopeful Mitt Romney kept his attacks focused on President Barack Obama rather than his Republican rivals on Monday, after picking up a big endorsement in New Hampshire.
The former Massachusetts governor ripped Obama's handling of the economy at a rally that followed Romney's filing of official paperwork to compete in the New Hampshire presidential primary, likely to be held in mid-January.
"President Obama for too many years has taken his guidance from the social democrats of Europe," Romney said on the statehouse steps in Concord, New Hampshire. "The right course is not to believe in Europe but to believe in America."
Romney had come under criticism from leading New Hampshire Republicans after it was revealed his campaign had lobbied Nevada to move its presidential caucus to January 14 from early February, a step that threatened to push New Hampshire's traditional first-in-the-nation primary into December.
On Saturday, Nevada Republicans voted to move the caucus back to February 4, clearing the way for New Hampshire to schedule its primary in mid-January. An announcement on the date could come within days.
Romney over the weekend won the endorsement of former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu, a power broker in state Republican politics who also served as chief of staff to President George H. W. Bush.
Sununu called Romney "a solid conservative who is committed to reducing taxes, cutting spending and preserving America's military strength."
The endorsement drew a rebuke from former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who has staked his campaign on a strong showing in New Hampshire.
Huntsman criticized the frontrunner for changing his positions on issues including healthcare, abortion and gun control.
"When you look at his past statements, positions and voting record, the idea that Mitt Romney is a principled conservative is an impossible conclusion," Huntsman wrote.
With President Obama preparing to visit Nevada to criticize Republicans for failing to back his jobs bill, Romney's campaign released a new anti-Obama video.
The video said Nevada has the highest rates of unemployment -- 13.4 percent as of September -- and mortgage foreclosure in the nation.
Romney has proposed cutting government spending and regulations as a solution to high unemployment and falling home values.
"America should be led by free people choosing their course in life," he said on Monday. "Government has become too intrusive, too big, too fat."
(Reporting by Jason McLure; Editing by Ros Krasny)