In an appeal to middle America on Tuesday, Mitt Romney will compare the national debt to a rapidly growing fire hurtling across a prairie.
The presumptive GOP nominee will warn Iowa voters they cannot ignore the swelling "crisis of debt and spending that threatens what it means to be an American" during a speech at a hotel in Des Moines.
"A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation and every day we fail to act we feed that fire with our own lack of resolve," Romney will say, according to excerpts of his remarks released by the campaign.
Though Romney will give his speech in a state where, only months ago, the Republican presidential candidates battled for the support of conservative caucus-goers, on this trip Romney will make an apparent bid for independent voters in the general election battleground.
"This is not a Democratic or Republican problem," he will say, adding that both parties deserve blame for the burgeoning debt. "That fire could care less if you have a donkey or an elephant in your front lawn, it's still coming for your house."
He will continue: "In my years leading businesses, an Olympics and a state, I've learned one simple principle of leadership that never falters: Leaders lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending crisis."
The presumptive GOP nominee will criticize President Barack Obama for his stimulus program and his signature health care law, and will call for a "smaller, simpler, smarter" federal government.
Romney will nod to his business background, and propose moving some functions now performed by the federal government back to states or the private sector.
The speech will be Romney's first appearance in Iowa since the state's first-in-the-nation caucus, where the former Massachusetts governor finished a close second to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.