Obama believes he is winning or even in all the swing states, with early voting and turnout among young people and Latinos outpacing the historic levels of 2008, advisers told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. They dismissed rumors that the campaign was pulling out of some battleground states where Romney has recently gained strength.
“The electorate is bigger this year, and our vote margins are, too,” campaign manager Jim Messina said, citing polls and early-vote turnout numbers from Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Florida, among others. As an example, Messina noted that Democratic turnout in Florida at this point four years ago was 250,000 votes behind Republicans, whereas today Democrats are just 38,000 votes behind. Obama won Florida in 2008.
But Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), campaigning in Henderson, Nev., claimed momentum.
Ryan, his voice unusually scratchy, exhorted the crowd, “We can do better than this. We don’t have to settle for this.”
“Two weeks from today,” he said, Obama“is going to become former President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is going to be the next president of the United States.”
The new Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll released Tuesday has 49 percent of likely voters supporting Romney, and 48 percent Obama.
With the last of three contentious debates behind them, each candidate must summon a final burst of energy to make his case to a dwindling number of undecided American voters.
In Nevada, Romney said the debates have “supercharged” his candidacy and charged that Obama has failed to lay out an agenda to spur economic growth.
“His is a status-quo candidacy. His is a message of going ‘forward’ with the same policies of the last four years, and that’s why his campaign is slipping and ours is gaining so much steam,” Romney told a boisterous rally of about 6,000 supporters in Henderson, a Las Vegas suburb.
At his first of two joint rallies with Ryan, Romney said Obama’s campaign is “taking on water” because he was focused more on tearing Romney down than laying out a positive vision for the future of the country.
“You know, he’s been reduced to try to defend characters on ‘Sesame Street’ and word games of various kinds and then misfired attacks after one another,” Romney said. “You know, the truth is that attacks on me are not an agenda…. We can handle two more weeks of the attacks that are coming from Barack Obama, but we cannot handle four more years of what he has given us.”
With the debates behind him, Romney is stepping up his campaigning, planning a series of large rallies in the key battleground states. From Nevada, he and Ryan fly to the Denver area for a joint rally against the sunset at Red Rocks Ampitheater, a famous Colorado concert venue, where they will be joined by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and country singer Rodney Atkins, as well as Kid Rock, the Detroit rocker who sings “Born Free,” Romney’s campaign theme song.