PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- Flush with cash, Mitt Romney plans to open a new front in the White House race by challenging President Barack Obama in upper Midwest states where he might not have dug in otherwise.
Obama is intensifying efforts to cast his Republican rival as out of touch, which he's already been working pretty hard at doing.
Sure, this is the beginning of the homestretch to Election Day, when everything in the two campaigns goes into overdrive and a September or October surprise could upend it all.
But this all has the whiff of politicking around the margins, too -- a tweak in state-by-state strategy here, a rhetorical detour there. The fact is that both candidates believe the campaign's direction is mostly settled and will be decided by a handful of unknowns.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is airing campaign ads in Wisconsin, making a play to win the state last carried by a Republican in 1984.
Romney hopes the ads, blaming Barack Obama for the federal deficit, can give him an edge in the state which is home to his running mate Paul Ryan and where recent polls have shown him even with the Democrat incumbent.
The former Massachusetts governor is also hoping to force Obama to defend Wisconsin by spending additional campaign money there. Obama carried Wisconsin by 14 percentage points in 2008 and has not aired ads there.
Independent groups backing Romney and Obama are running ads in the state.
Romney, a native of Michigan, also hopes to compete there, which Democratic presidential candidates have carried since 1988.
SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) -- President Barack Obama has been trying to rekindle some of the enthusiasm of his 2008 campaign with a bus tour through a must-win stretch of Florida, while Mitt Romney is putting a focus on the looming spending cuts that could hit the military if the president and Republicans in Congress can't reach a new budget deal in the next few months.
On a bus tour through central Florida, Obama says Republicans are "dead wrong" for calling America a country in decline. He says America still has the best workers, the best scientists and the best universities in the world.
Speaking at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College, Obama urged supporters not to "buy into the cynicism" that the change they fought for isn't possible. He says they should rally behind "real, achievable goals that will lead to new jobs and more opportunity."
On a campaign swing through Virginia, Romney criticized both the president and congressional Republicans for the budget arrangement that now threatens across-board-cuts, half of which will affect the military. Romney calls the cuts "unthinkable."
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is faulting Republicans in Congress as well as President Barack Obama for exposing the armed forces to big spending cuts.
In an interview for Sunday's broadcast of NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney said "it was a mistake for Republicans" to agree to a deal that will mean automatic cuts in defense spending next year if Congress doesn't negotiate an agreement on the budget.
In a Virginia Beach, Va., rally, Romney solely blamed the president for what he called "unthinkable" potential reductions in military spending. But when it was pointed out in his "Meet the Press" interview that GOP leaders went along with that deal, he said they should not have.
He's promised to roll back past Pentagon cuts and expand the Navy as president.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) -- Mitt Romney is back in tightly contested Virginia, where he's trying to deny President Barack Obama another victory in a state that typically goes for Republican presidential nominees.
Virginia Beach was his first stop Saturday, and he took on Obama over looming military cuts that are the result of a budget deal between the White House and congressional leaders.
Internal campaign polls show the race is deadlocked in Virginia, which is seen as a must-have state for Romney on the way to winning the 270 electoral votes for the presidency.
The state's white, working-class voters provide hope. Romney outpolls Obama by more than 20 percentage points among these voters, who are pro-military, often rural and socially conservative.
Romney's next stop was the NASCAR race Saturday evening in Richmond.
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