WHITE HOUSE - President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned Thursday in Virginia, a key political swing state that will help determine the winner of the November 6 election.
As the election draws nearer, both the president and Romney will concentrate campaign appearances in Virginia and other swing states crucial to obtaining the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the White House.
Thursday was another instance in which both appeared virtually simultaneously. Obama spoke at a rally in the city of Virginia Beach, and Romney at an American Legion event in the city of Springfield.
With public opinion polls showing the president with a lead in Virginia, and in other key states such as Ohio and Florida, both candidates are focusing on economic themes, and related issues such as trade with China.
In Virginia Beach, President Obama again hit at what he called the unfairness of Romney's "trickle-down economics," and challenged the arithmetic of Romney proposals.
"Every few days says he keeps on saying he is going to reboot this campaign and they are doing to start explaining very specifically how this plan is going to work, and then they don't," said the president. "They don't say how you would pay for $5 trillion in tax cuts that are skewed towards the wealthy without raising taxes on middle class families."
Speaking to an American Legion post in Springfield, Virginia, Romney repeated his criticisms of President Obama on foreign policy, and asserted that Obama's economic policies are weakening the U.S. military.
"His plan cuts the military, his plans asks for another stimulus - how did the last one work by the way? His plan calls for government being able to invest in winners and losers, or in his case, losers. And his plan also calls for trillion-dollar deficits," he said.
Both campaigns also released new videos, with each candidate speaking directly to the camera, targeting Virginia and other swing states such as New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, and Colorado.
Obama lays out specifics of his economic plans. Romney makes a point of mentioning his concern for poor voters, part of his effort to blunt the perception that he cares more about wealthy Americans.
While the Obama campaign is feeling more confident based on positive polling numbers, campaign officials also caution against over-optimism, especially before the three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in October.
Debate performances by candidates, their strong points and mistakes, can result in significant shifts in support. The first presidential debate, October 3 in Denver, Colorado, will focus on domestic policy and the U.S. economy.
An Obama campaign spokeswoman noted that although Obama is leading in Virginia, a state he won in 2008, the race there remains close. That's likely to be the case in all of the major political swing states.