Romney, by contrast, sounded more confident Tuesday than he has throughout much of his campaign — in which he has often had to correct himself to say “when I’m president,” instead of “if.”
In Henderson, he told the crowd that Obama is “taking on water.”
“He’s been reduced to try to defend characters on ‘Sesame Street’ and word games of various kinds, and then misfired attacks,” Romney said, referring to an Obama ad in which Big Bird makes an appearance.
Romney’s advisers spoke in metaphors of finality.
“The cake is baked,” said Eric Fehrnstrom. “Something structural changed in that first debate, and all the movement has been toward Governor Romney.”
Inside the Romney campaign, advisers think they are getting the election they always wanted — one focused on economic leadership and contrasting visions for the country’s future.
The Republican nominee plans to deliver a major speech this week on the debt and federal spending, and he plans more television ads in which he speaks about his economic plans directly to the camera, advisers said.
As in most presidential campaigns, some of this late-game rhetoric amounts to advisers trying to fake one another out.
On Tuesday, for instance, Obama’s camp said it would remain active in North Carolina, a state that appears to be trending Republican. Romney staffers, in turn, publicly pondered diving back into blue-tinted Pennsylvania and Michigan.
But their main audience is voters, and the campaigns hope to motivate them either through worry or the appeal of joining a winning team.
In Delray Beach, worry already seemed to be working for Obama.
Margot Mueller, 49, showed up at a campaign office on Monday with her 10-year old daughter. She voted for Obama four years ago and is hopeful he will win again. “I still believe in the Democratic philosophy,” she said. “I still feel that too much wealth goes to too few.”
Moments later, an elderly woman named Paula walked into the campaign office. “Would you like somebody to make a few calls?” she asked. “I have a free hour.”
A campaign worker quickly stood up, grabbed a call sheet and hustled Paula into a back room away from a reporter.
“Just call as many people as you can,” the worker said.
Amy Gardner in Washington, Jerry Markon in Nevada, Joel Achenbach in Ohio and Ed O’Keefe in Florida contributed to this report.