On tour, a looser and largely gaffe-free Romney

By KASIE HUNT | June 19, 2012 | 5:49 PM EDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to the crowd during a campaign stop at Bavarian Inn Lodge on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 in Frankenmuth, Mich. (AP Photo/The Saginaw News, Jeff Schrier)

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. (AP) — The personal stories were slightly awkward. The small-town events tended toward the corny. The chats with voters were usually just a few words.

But as Mitt Romney campaigned across six states, the Republican presidential candidate loosened up a little — and avoided the verbal gaffes that have plagued him in the past.

His crowds appeared more excited than ever. In interviews throughout the tour, voters said they found Romney unexpectedly personable. Romney was also eager to engage on a friendly, personal level with the reporters who were covering him.

His bus tour wasn't totally free of awkward moments. He avoided one when he declined to wear a bright pink apron while visiting a bakery cafe in DeWitt, Mich.

Romney said, "Pink aprons I don't do."