MILFORD, N.H. – Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney launched a multistate bus tour through small-town America on Friday, charging that President Obama hasn’t given the middle class “a fair shot.”

The tour, unusual for Romney, marked an attempt to upend Obama’s core argument against his challenger: that the Republican is disconnected from the ordinary folks he aims to lead.

The five-day, six-day excursion by bus and airplane comes after Romney spent the past few weeks courting wealthy donors and raising millions of dollars to fund his presidential ambitions.

“If there’s ever been a president who has not given a fair shot to the middle-income Americans of this great nation, it is Barack Obama,” Romney declared from a makeshift podium during an “ice cream social” in Milford’s town square. “I understand what it takes to get people to work again. I will do that to help the American people from the richest to the poorest and everybody in between.”

Obama used the power of the presidency to overshadow Romney’s big day.

The president announced that the government will stop deporting hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Romney waited until late afternoon to address the issue, although the news had been out since morning. When he did, he distanced himself from the sharp rhetoric he used during the primaries.

Romney once vowed to veto the so-called DREAM Act, stalled legislation once backed by Republicans and Democrats that would help some of those young immigrants become citizens. But on Friday, he emphasized the need to help those who were brought to the country involuntarily. He would not say whether he would reverse Obama’s decision if elected.

Romney’s response infuriated some New Hampshire conservatives and underscored his delicate standing in the party following a divisive GOP primary.

“Romney’s got to stop pussyfooting around this,” said Rachel Swinford, a 59-year-old New Boston, N.H., jewelry maker, who backed Rick Santorum during the primaries. “We’re stuck with Romney. But compared to Obama, I mean, what choice do we have?”

Democrats lashed out at Romney’s message on multiple fronts, including in the skies above his two New Hampshire bus stops. One small plane towed a banner that said: “Romney’s Every Millionaire Counts Tour,” while another hired by the Romney campaign towed a competing message: “Romney for president — 2012.”