Sarah Palin crashed her red, white and blue bus into Mitt Romney’s party yesterday, sweeping into New Hampshire for the final leg of her multiday East Coast tour as he was in the state declaring his candidacy for president.

Romney’s effort, though, to keep the focus on Obama — and himself — was undercut by Palin. Before his official announcement, she directed some barbs at him in comments in the Boston area. The bus tour that the former Alaska governor began May 29 in Washington then crossed into New Hampshire about the same time as Romney’s rally.

Palin, 47, insisted that she hadn’t intended to overshadow Romney’s announcement. She said in Seabrook that her arrival in New Hampshire simply “worked very well logistically” as the wrap up to a trip that included visits to historic sites in Philadelphia and Boston. “I say, best of luck to Governor Romney,” Palin said.

Romney, who last month sought to distance himself from the Massachusetts measure, yesterday stressed the differences between the state and national laws. He called the Massachusetts plan “a state solution for a state problem.”

Palin assailed the Massachusetts health-care law as she and her entourage prepared to depart for New Hampshire. “In my opinion, any mandate coming from government is not a good thing,” she told reporters in the Boston area. She also predicted that Romney will face a “big challenge” appealing to many Republican activists.

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