Obama, Romney Focus on Swing States

President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a campaign event at Veteran's Memorial Park in Manchester, New Hampshire, Oct. 18, 2012.President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a campaign event at Veteran's Memorial Park in Manchester, New Hampshire, Oct. 18, 2012.
x
President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a campaign event at Veteran's Memorial Park in Manchester, New Hampshire, Oct. 18, 2012.
President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a campaign event at Veteran's Memorial Park in Manchester, New Hampshire, Oct. 18, 2012.
Less than three weeks before election day, U.S. public-opinion polls show a very close race for president between the incumbent, President Barack Obama, and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.  At the end of the second presidential debate this week, both candidates focused on the themes they want to emphasize in the final days of the campaign.

Mitt Romney continued to hammer away at President Barack Obama's economic record.

"I understand that I can get this country on track again," said Romney.  "We do not have to settle for what we a going through."

The president said his priority was making life better for middle-class Americans.  

"But I also believe that everybody should have a fair shot, and everybody should do their fair share, and everybody should play by the same rules because that is how are economy is grown and that is how we have built the world's greatest middle class," said Obama.

The state of the U.S. economy remains the dominant issue in the campaign, says analyst Alex Roarty of National Journal.

"The governor has gotten very good about laying into the president about the current state of the economy, about promises and things that Obama initially said he would do in office that he has not been able to accomplish," said Roarty.

Analysts said that Romney was especially effective in making his arguments on the economy in the first presidential debate.  His debate performance excited Republicans and gave him a boost in the polls.

But most analysts gave President Obama a slight edge in the second debate.  Obama came off as more forceful and willing to challenge Romney on a wide range of issues.

Noted political reporter and columnist Jules Witcover has covered every presidential election since 1956 and says the president's second debate showing may have slowed the Romney momentum.

"He [Obama] reassured Democrats and maybe others and may not have come all the way back from that first debate, but certainly got back in the ballgame," said Witcover.  "And his demeanor was sharper and at the same time I found that Romney was a bit abrasive."

Roarty, of National Journal, expects President Obama to try to keep the focus on Romney in the closing weeks of the campaign.

"'I can defend what I have done in my first term in office.  I can tell you what I want to do in my second term.  But maybe more than anything else I can tell you why this other guy, Mitt Romney, should not be president,'" said Roarty.

Both candidates used the debates to solidify their base of support and to reach out to the dwindling number of undecided voters, especially in the handful of states where the outcome is in question.

"I think it is a very small number of people, [the number of voters who remain undecided]," explained Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News.  "The undecided likely voters are probably just maybe a million or so spread over nine states that are really being contested here."

Most of the 50 U.S. states already lean toward one candidate or the other, so the Obama and Romney campaigns will focus on the nine so-called battleground states where the outcome is uncertain in the final days of the campaign.

President Obama will be busy shoring up his base of support among minority and women voters, groups that traditionally prefer Democratic candidates.  Some recent polls show a dip in support for Obama among women, perhaps in response to Romney's performance in the first debate.

Romney hopes to fire up his Republican base to get out and vote, and at the same time appeal to undecided voters and those who supported Obama four years ago, but who are disenchanted with his record on the economy.

The two men meet in one final debate that will deal with foreign policy on Monday in Florida.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs