Obama, Romney pumped for dash to the finish
‘‘Look, this is going to be close,’’ Biden said on NBC’s ‘‘Today.’’ ‘'We always knew at the end of the day this was going to be a close race, no matter who the Republicans nominated.’’
After Obama and Biden campaign together in Ohio, the president splits off on what his campaign is describing as a two-day ‘‘around-the-clock’’ blitz to six more battleground states. He'll be in constant motion — making voter calls and sleeping aboard Air Force One as he flies overnight Wednesday from Nevada to Tampa, Fla.
The vice president is midway through a three-day tour of uber-battleground Ohio, and Obama’s team contends its best way of ensuring victory is a win there. The campaign says internal polling gives Obama a lead in the Midwestern battleground state, in large part because of the popularity of the president’s bailout of the auto industry.
But even if Obama loses Ohio, his campaign sees another pathway to the presidency by nailing New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado.
Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are picking up their pace of campaigning, too, and their schedule reflects an overarching strategy to drive up GOP vote totals in areas already friendly to the Republican nominee.
Romney and Ryan start their two-week dash in Henderson, Nev., then hopscotch to the Denver area for a rally with rocker-rapper Kid Rock and country music’s Rodney Atkins at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Then Romney heads back to Nevada, on to Iowa and then east to Ohio for three overnights in a row.
The state is critical to both campaigns, and economic concerns rank high. Ryan aides already were looking ahead to a Wednesday speech at Cleveland State University as a chance to tout what a Romney administration would mean for middle-class voters and those struggling to get by. Ryan aides said he will argue that those stuck in poverty cannot afford four more years like Obama’s first term and that Romney offers better a pathway to improve their lives through opportunity and upward mobility, including school choice and public-private partnerships.
Romney plans to return to Florida by week’s end, before a significant uptick in his schedule during the final week of the campaign. Aides say he'll touch down in two or three states a day, or hold that many daily events in big states like Florida.
Both sides are working furiously to lock down every possible early vote, and the results are evident in the 4.4 million people who've already cast ballots. Obama will detour to Chicago on Thursday to make a statement about voting early by becoming the first president to cast his own early ballot.
‘‘Every single day right now is Election Day,’’ Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on a conference call outlining their strategy to win the race.
Neither candidate scored a knockout punch in Monday’s third and final debate, as both men reined in the confrontational sniping that had marked their previous testy encounter. The topic was foreign policy, and Romney went in to the debate with a key piece of advice from his aides: talk about peace in an appeal to independent voters, particularly women, who are weary of more than a decade of war. ‘‘I want to see peace,’’ Romney said in his closing argument.
Romney’s campaign produced a new television commercial overnight using debate footage of the him lecturing Obama for going on an ‘‘apology tour’’ of Middle East nations while never visiting Israel as president.
Pickler reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Kasie Hunt in Boca Raton, Fla., and Nancy Benac, Philip Elliott and Ben Feller in Washington contributed to this report.