Obama front and center in storm crisis as Romney subdued

Updated: 2012-11-01 11:35


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Polls tight, slight Obama edge

Sandy forced the presidential race into a deep freeze, just as Romney was gathering steam in the last leg toward the Nov 6 Romney.

Both campaigns will be back in full swing on Thursday when Romney travels to Virginia and Obama begins a two-day trip to Colorado, Ohio and Nevada.

A Reuters/Ipsos national online tracking survey, like most other similar polls, found the race effectively tied, with Obama on 47 percent to 46 percent for Romney.

The rivals were also neck and neck in four of the most hotly contested states, but Obama holds a slight advantage in two of them. The online Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Obama leading by 3 percentage points in Ohio and 2 points in Virginia. The two are dead even in Florida, and Romney leads by 1 percentage point in Colorado.

Another poll, by Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News, showed Obama with slight leads within the margin of error in Virginia and Florida, and a 5-point edge over Romney in the vital battleground of Ohio.

A Romney loss in Ohio would make his electoral math very difficult, and his campaign has aired new ads in recent days in Democratic-leaning Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan in an effort to put those states in play.

Recent polls have shown all three states tightening in what the Romney camp calls a sign of momentum. The Obama campaign said the move to expand the electoral map was a sign of desperation but launched its own ads in those states to counter Romney.

"There is a growing recognition on the other side that Ohio is fading away. There is no battleground state where they can be comfortable," said Obama senior adviser David Axelrod. "They are looking for opportunities."

Romney aides noted that Obama's levels of support still did not reach 50 percent in most swing states, a bad sign for an incumbent, and said that Romney had opened up leads with independent voters who will make the difference.

Romney adviser Madden said the Republican's campaign still believed it would win Ohio and called the moves into the three new states a positive sign.

"Where we feel most confident is that we're playing offense with the map whereas they're playing defense," he told reporters. "We feel like we're really well positioned now."

Obama's support for the 2009 auto bailout has helped him in Ohio, where one in eight jobs is tied to the car industry. The Obama camp continued to hammer Romney for his recent claim that Chrysler planned to move Jeep production out of Ohio to China - a charge refuted on Tuesday by Chrysler's chief executive.

The two campaigns have aired dueling advertisements on the issue, and Vice-President Joe Biden took up the cause on a visit to Sarasota, Florida.

"It's an outrageous lie, a lie that is so deceptive and so patently untrue that Chrysler Corporation, including the chairman of the board of Chrysler, they actually spoke up," Biden said, adding the Romney campaign was trying to "scare the living devil" out of auto workers in Ohio.

Romney's running mate, US Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, countered that American taxpayers would lose $25 billion because of Obama's handling of the auto bailout and that Chrysler and General Motors were expanding overseas production.

"These are facts voters deserve to know as they listen to the claims President Obama and his campaign are making," Ryan said in a statement. "President Obama has chosen not to run on the facts of his record, but he can't run from them."

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