Obama, Romney battle for votes in swing states
By ASHLEY PARKER
The New York Times | September 09,2012
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann Romney, arrive at his campaign headquarters in Boston on Saturday.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were campaigning in two fiercely contested swing states on Saturday as they sought to gain an edge coming out of their political conventions.
Obama, in an intense burst of campaigning, was on a bus tour in Florida. He captured the state in 2008, but current polls show a tight race with Romney. After campaigning on Saturday morning in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, where the Republicans held their convention two weeks ago, Obama was heading east to Kissimmee, along the Interstate 4 corridor, a region whose swing voters have often determined the winner of elections in the state.
As Obama campaigned in Florida, Romney was focusing on Virginia, another state that the president captured in 2008 and that he has made a priority in his re-election bid.
Romney’s trip, which includes a stop in Virginia Beach and an appearance at the start of the Sprint Cup Series NASCAR race in Richmond, was intended to help him shore up support among white working-class voters.
Though the president trails Romney in this crucial demographic, some polls still show Romney underperforming among those voters. Romney’s choice of running mate, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, was also expected to help him win over working-class whites and the Republican conservative base, many of whom were wary of him during the early nominating contests.
For Romney, such courting of working-class voters may be somewhat of a challenge. He is Harvard educated and has an estimated net worth of more than $200 million.
During a visit to the Daytona 500 this year, Romney ran into some trouble when he said that while he did not follow the sport as closely as some ardent fans, he had “some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.” His opponents used the comment to portray him as wealthy and out of touch with the concerns of average voters.
Obama has made repeated campaign stops in Virginia, particularly courting black voters around the Richmond area to try to drive up their turnout. He has also focused on more liberal areas of Northern Virginia.
In addition to the on-the-ground campaigning this weekend, the Sunday morning talk shows were on the candidates’ agendas. Romney was to make his first appearance of the campaign season on “Meet the Press” on NBC, and Obama and Ryan were scheduled to appear on “Face the Nation” on CBS.