BEDFORD, N.H. — Sharpening his message ahead of voting in Iowa and New Hampshire, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney argued Tuesday that President Barack Obama is pushing to make the United States more like Europe.

In a speech Tuesday, the former businessman was expected to tell voters that he would turn the U.S. into an "opportunity society" while Obama's policies would create an "entitlement society" with more people dependent on government welfare.

Romney's message contrasts with the argument the Democratic president has started to articulate for his re-election, in which he calls for an economy that offers "fair play, a fair shot and a fair share."

The former Massachusetts governor is using the speech to open four straight days of campaigning in New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary on Jan. 10. Romney must win New Hampshire if he hopes to become the Republican nominee.

Two weeks remain until voting begins Jan. 3 in Iowa, though Romney will focus on New Hampshire through Christmas in a sign of the state's importance to his political strategy.

Romney laid out his basic principles in an opinion piece published Tuesday in USA Today.