President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon arriving in Atlantic City, N.J., to survey damage from Hurricane Sandy. Christie, a Mitt Romney supporter, has praised the Obama administration for its handling of the natural disaster.
President Barack Obama returns to the campaign trail today, joining Mitt Romney in a final sprint to Election Day as polls continue to show a tight race.
Obama remained focused Wednesday on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, touring devastated portions of New Jersey with Republican Gov. Chris Christie, an outspoken surrogate for Romney’s campaign who nonetheless has praised the Obama administration’s response to the storm.
“We’re going to have a lot of work to do. ... But what I can promise you is the federal government will be working as closely as possible with the state and local officials, and we will not quit until this is done,” Obama said as Christie stood behind him.
The storm has given Obama an opportunity to show presidential leadership in responding to a crisis that knocked the election from the top of the news cycle. But it also pulled the president off the campaign trail, and on Wednesday the campaign resumed without him as Romney and Vice President Joseph Biden delivered stump speeches in Florida.
Obama will begin making up for lost time today in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado before heading to Ohio for appearances Friday. On Saturday, he will be in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Virginia and will appear Sunday in New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio and Colorado, according to the campaign.
“We owe it to people to make the final arguments,” senior strategist David Axelrod said.
Romney continues to crisscross the country, with events Thursday in Virginia and Friday in Ohio. He has scheduled events in New Hampshire and Colorado on Saturday, with more states expected to be added to the schedule.
Both campaigns plan to continue their tours of swing states in the coming days, with Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire getting the most attention.
The Romney campaign insisted Wednesday that it has gained enough ground to make three more states legitimate battlegrounds. Polling in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota has shown Obama’s advantage in each of those states narrowing to within several points.
The two camps held competing conference calls with reporters Wednesday to spin the latest state of play and recent polls, which offer a mixed bag but generally portray the race as close to tied nationally, while Obama has an edge in most polls of key swing states.
The Romney camp portrayed its spending in the newly minted battleground states as signs of strength, noting that it is consistently stronger in polls among independents and contending that Republicans remain more enthusiastic about voting. “This race is exactly where we hoped it would be,” Romney senior adviser Russ Schriefer said. “We have lots of states that are in play … We have an incumbent president who is stuck well below the 50 percent threshold.”
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