The Washington Post

As Romney campaigns in Pennsylvania, GOP ticket trails in swing-state events

Thirty-nine days out from Election Day, both President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney are on the fundraising circuit: Obama holds a trio of events with donors in Washington, D.C., while Romney holds a rally in Wayne, Pa., along with fundraisers in Philadelphia and Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The Friday spent away from campaigning in key states seems the bigger risk for Romney, who trails Obama not only in a string of recent polls but also in the number of rallies and smaller less formal gatherings known as retail events his campaign has held in the three largest swing states since the end of both party conventions, according to The Washington Post’s Candidate Tracker.

From Sept. 7 to Friday, the Obama-Biden ticket held a combined total of 29 rallies or retail events in those battlegrounds – Florida, Ohio and Virginia -- while the Romney-Ryan ticket has held a total of 24 events in that trio of states over the same period.

The gap is not a wide one, but it comes as Romney and Ryan have faced criticism from some prominent supporters who argue that the GOP ticket has spent too much time fundraising and not enough meeting with voters.

In her Wall Street Journal column earlier this month, former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan lamented that Romney “doesn’t seem to be out there campaigning enough.”

“He seems -- in this he is exactly like the president -- to always be disappearing into fund-raisers, and not having enough big public events,” Noonan wrote. “But the logic of Romney’s fundraising has seemed, for some time, slightly crazy. He’s raising money so he can pile it in at the end, with ads. But at the end will they make much difference?”

Indeed, when it comes to fundraisers, Romney and Ryan have far outpaced their Democratic counterparts: the GOP ticket has held a combined total of 33 fundraisers in the three weeks since the end of the Democratic convention, while Obama and Biden have held nine, according to The Post’s Candidate Tracker.

Romney has been the busiest fundraiser of the quartet, holding a total of 22 events with donors in that period, including two joint fundraisers with Ryan in Massachusetts on Friday. Ryan has headlined 11 solo fundraisers, while Obama has held nine; Biden has not headlined any fundraisers in the past three weeks.

A campaign spokesman defended Romney and Ryan’s use of their time on the trail by noting that they must spend a greater amount of their time raising money because they’re running against an incumbent president and vice president.

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan are running a vigorous campaign and also devoting time raising the resources needed to compete with President Obama’s political machine,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said. “They look forward to holding even more rallies and grassroots events across the country in the weeks before the election.”

Overall, the Obama-Biden ticket has held nearly 50 rallies or smaller events over the past few weeks, while the Romney-Ryan ticket has held about 45 such events.

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