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Obama Hits Battleground States In Final Blitz


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


I'm Audie Cornish, and we begin this hour with a sprint. The 2012 presidential debates are now history and today, President Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney begin the two-week race to Election Day. Mr. Obama is widely considered the winner of last night's foreign policy debate, but he didn't spend much time crowing today.

He and Governor Romney quickly returned their focus to economic issues. We hear now from both campaigns, beginning with NPR's Scott Horsley, who's travelling with the president. And Scott, Mr. Obama was pretty aggressive last night challenging Governor's Romney's foreign policy credentials. Was there any echo of that in the campaign events today?

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Well, you're right, Audie. The president was on offense throughout the foreign policy debate in Boca Raton, Florida, challenging the governor's statements that Russia is America's number one geopolitical foe and his proposal to increase military spending. And Mr. Obama kept up that line of attack as he campaigned today in Delray Beach, Florida.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In a world of new threats and profound challenges, America needs leadership that is strong and is steady. Governor Romney's foreign policy has been wrong and reckless.

HORSLEY: But the Obama campaign's under no illusion that foreign policy's going to carry the day in this election, so they've tried to stitch Romney's shifting positions on world affairs into a larger narrative, one they've been spinning since the first debate. This is the story that Governor Romney is a shape-shifter, willing to say anything, and the Obama campaign is trying to warn Americans that's he's not a politician that they can trust.

CORNISH: Now, Mr. Obama has been criticized for not spelling out more of an agenda for a second term, if he gets one. And is there any evidence that the campaign has taken that criticism to heart?

HORSLEY: Well, they've certainly taken it to the printer's office. They've printed up millions of copies of a glossy new brochure that essentially reworks some of the goals that Mr. Obama's been talking about for a long time now. If anyone is looking to this campaign blueprint for bold new ideas two weeks from Election Day, they will be disappointed.

If, on the other hand, they think that the president has laid out some good ideas and just needs to put a big, shiny bow ribbon on them, this document may fit that bill.

CORNISH: It looks like the president's going to rack up a lot of miles over the next few days. Where is he going? What's he up to?

HORSLEY: Well, it is going to be a lot of miles. He's in a very tight race in many of the battleground states, so over the next three days, he's hitting half a dozen battleground states, including two separate visits each to Ohio and Florida. He's also going to make a side trip to Los Angeles to tape "The Tonight Show" and travel home to Chicago to cast his own ballot on Thursday.

The Obama campaign has been very focused on early voting. It starts this Saturday in Florida. It's already underway in Ohio and the campaign is really working to make sure its supporters get to the polls on Election Day or even before.

CORNISH: NPR's Scott Horsley with the Obama campaign. Scott, thank you.

HORSLEY: Good to be with you, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.
Audie Cornish
Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.