HARTFORD -- Mitt Romney brought his presidential campaign to the back room of a small business in the state's capital Wednesday, hours after his chief rival for the GOP nomination ceded the field to the former Massachusetts governor.

Romney, however, did not mention Rick Santorum's decision to suspend his campaign and give up the primary fight. Instead he stayed on message, hammering President Barack Obama's handling of the economy and charging the administration's failures have hurt women nationwide.

"I was disappointed in listing to the President as he's saying, `Oh, Republicans are waging a war on women," Romney told supporters and press, squeezed into a room within Alphagraphics Inc. "The real war on women is being waged by the president's failed economic policies."

Romney faces a significant gender gap when matched up against Obama. Not only is Alphagraphics owned by a woman -- Karen Brinker of Greenwich -- but Romney was flanked by a couple dozen other female business owners, politicians and retirees as he spoke for about 17 minutes.

Among those was Darien Selectman Jayme Stevenson. Stevenson afterward said she was pleased with Romney's message and believes her party has been too caught up in social issues.

"I am thrilled he is beginning to highlight the value of women in their role not only in the political process but the economic engine of the country," Stevenson said. "Our party has focused too much on social issues. I believe in personal responsibility, and if the party focused on personal responsibility above all else we'd do ourselves well."

Brinker, who described herself as an independent voter, said she was first contacted by the Romney campaign Thursday and only learned on Monday that his visit had been scheduled. "I've been a Romney fan since the Salt Lake Olympics." She and a handful of other women spent about 40 minutes with Romney on his campaign bus prior to his speech. "Basically, he listened to each of us talk about our businesses and problems and what we wanted him to do about them."

Brinker needed no convincing, but Chris O'Brien of Wolcott is far from being sold on Romney. O'Brien is one of Santorum's grassroots coordinators in Connecticut. He stood on the sidewalk holding a handwritten sign, "Convince Me."

O'Brien worries Romney is a flip-flopper and does not want to vote for him simply as an alternative to Obama. "Convince me and the 1,000 volunteers around Connecticut when you talk a good conservative game now you actually hold to that," he said.

Romney during his speech also took a brief shot at former Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd's landmark legislation, the Dodd/Frank financial services regulations. Romney said the new laws have slowed business lending.

Democrats said they welcomed Romney's attention to the needs of women, claiming that the presumptive GOP nominee refuses to answer whether he would support legislative measures that call for equal pay for women.

"Mitt Romney's position on equal pay for women is, `We'll get back to you on that,'" said Connecticut Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo. "That's not an answer that gives Connecticut women any confidence that Mitt Romney would stand up for them and that's not an answer that gives Connecticut families any confidence that Mitt Romney is committed to restoring middle class security."