President Obama may be consumed with an international crisis, but he is still scheduled to start a Western campaign swing on Wednesday night, with a rally in Las Vegas and another in Colorado on Thursday. Obama's aides indicated that he would have reconsidered his trip had the violence in Libya and Egypt spilled into a second day in a major way. But with the follow-up protests remaining relatively modest, the president will monitor events from Air Force One, aides said.
NEW YORK TIMES
Michigan and Pennsylvania are out; Wisconsin is in.
The presidential campaign has become a contest that will be decided in as few as nine states, creating a narrower path for Republican Mitt Romney to secure the 270 electoral college votes he needs to oust President Obama.
The former Massachusetts governor and his allies have shifted television advertising dollars to reflect the state of play following the two parties' nominating conventions. "We all know the presidential campaign is not a national election; it's an election in individual states," said Alex Vogel, a Republican consultant who isn't working with Romney.
Romney's campaign spent $4.2 million this week on its first advertising blitz after the conventions, according to a media buyer. The Republican's 15 different commercials, which carry messages tailored to each region, are airing in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Nevada, Iowa and Colorado. This week, Romney reserved time for a 16th ad in Milwaukee, Wis., said Federal Communication Commission records. In response, Obama has begun running ads in Wisconsin. Outside groups helping Romney, including Americans for Prosperity and American Crossroads, also have trained their advertising firepower on those same states, said a review from New York-based Kantar Media's CMAG.
Obama and supportive Democrats have scaled back resources in states where Romney and his backers aren't advertising, suggesting both sides have settled on the same nine states, which have a combined 110 electoral votes.
In this environment, Obama could secure re-election just by winning Florida and one of the remaining eight battleground states. That's because the president is favored to win the 207 electoral votes from states that he carried four years ago by at least 15 percentage points. Romney's smaller base of 191 electoral votes includes states that the president lost in 2008 plus Indiana, where polls show Romney is favored by 1 percentage point. Republicans need to win 72 percent of the electoral votes in the nine targeted states, which would require victories in five to eight of them. Florida and Ohio are the biggest prizes.