In addition to Ohio, Romney is scheduled to campaign this weekend in Florida and Virginia to try and lock down those swing states that have been trending slightly in his favor. But he canceled a scheduled trip to Virginia Beach on Sunday, when forecasters predicted a severe storm will hit part of the East Coast. He will still attend rallies in Richmond and Sterling that day.
Romney aides tried to show they were mounting a challenge in Minnesota, a state that leans Democratic and has not been seriously contested by either campaign, by buying television advertisements. Fehrnstrom claimed that Minnesota was now “tied,” although Romney has not led or come within the margin of error in any public polls.
The Obama campaign also has reserved television time in Minnesota. But neither candidate has scheduled visits to the state, and both campaigns declined to disclose the size or location of their buys. The ads could air only in markets that bleed into neighboring Wisconsin, a hotly contested swing state, to reach voters there.
Obama advisers on Friday dismissed the idea that Minnesota is now in play — or that any new state could be added to the contested electoral map with 11 days to go.
They expressed renewed confidence about their path to the 270 electoral college votes needed for reelection, even as they acknowledged that the small sliver of voters who are undecided may be leaning toward Romney.
In his Iowa speech, Romney charged that the president had become distracted by “small, shiny objects” and had become too rigidly partisan, saying the Republican ticket offers the “leadership that these times demand.”
“Four years ago, candidate Obama spoke to the scale of the times. Today, he shrinks from it,” Romney said. “The president’s campaign falls far short of the magnitude of these times. And the presidency of the last four years has fallen far short of the promises of the last campaign. Four years ago, America voted for a post-partisan president, but they have seen the most partisan and political of presidents and a Washington in gridlock because of it.”
The speech had been billed as a significant economic policy address, but Romney did not roll out any new policy proposals nor delve into the specifics of his plans to help the economy. Instead, he presented a rhetorical repackaging of his familiar campaign agenda, building on the “change” narrative he first introduced Thursday in Ohio and blaming Obama for partisan stalemates.
Rachel Weiner and Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.