Not to be outdone, the Obama campaign sent out its stars on Saturday. Katy Perry, decked out in a body-hugging blue leather dress with the Obama campaign slogan “Forward” on it, rocked the stage before Obama’s speech in Milwaukee. John Mellencamp did an acoustic rendition of “Small Town” in Dubuque, Iowa. Dave Matthews was scheduled to perform ahead of Obama’s appearance Saturday night in Northern Virginia.
And at Cleveland State University, about 100 students were treated to an impromptu concert on Saturday morning by Stevie Wonder, who then went to an early voting center and spoke briefly on Obama’s behalf on the steps of a church across the street.
“They are not mega events, but the kind of things that keep people interested and give them a sense of how important the ground game really is,” explained Tom Rath, a Romney adviser who shepherded a surrogate foursome — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), former senator James M. Talent (Mo.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) — through New Hampshire on Saturday.
Both campaigns tried to assert momentum in other ways too. At Obama’s Chicago headquarters, aides trumpeted favorable headlines from the Circleville Herald, a 6,600-circulation Ohio newspaper, and Ha’aretz, the Israeli news source. And at Romney’s Boston headquarters, aides tried to gin up a controversy over Obama’s remark Friday that voting against Romney is “the best revenge,” producing a new ad overnight and trying to pump outrage across Twitter.
The candidates themselves flew in and out of many of the same battleground states, delivering the same dueling messages: the incumbent trying to convince the nation that he has made real progress and the challenger offering himself as an agent of change.
Romney began his weekend in his adopted home state of New Hampshire, where he was hoping to draw undecided voters and, perhaps, Obama supporters to his side.
“I need you to spend some time in the next three days to see neighbors — and maybe ones with an Obama sign in front of their home — and just go by and say, ‘Look, let’s talk this through a bit.’ Because, you see, President Obama came into office with so many promises and he’s fallen so far short,” Romney told an enthusiastic crowd at the airport in Newington, N.H.
Romney then walked a few hundred yards across the tarmac to board his plane en route to Iowa, and on to Colorado. By the time he goes to sleep in his own bed Monday night, the Republican nominee will have touched down in eight battleground states, some of them multiple times.