Three states in particular—Colorado, Ohio and Virginia—have become vital battlegrounds in this year's presidential race, and they could determine the outcome of the election, according to strategists for President Obama's re-election campaign.
Obama aides told me that these three states are increasingly barometers of the national mood, making them doubly important. This is why both Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been focusing so much attention on them.
Earlier this month, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said eight states with 104 electoral votes remain too close to call and are in play—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. But Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia are undergoing important demographic shifts as their Hispanic and African American populations expand, the number of independent voters rises, and as they seem to become more open to different political appeals. This, in turn, makes them national trend setters.
Romney is planning to campaign in Virginia Tuesday, and Obama is running new TV ads in Virginia, Ohio and Iowa hitting Romney for sending jobs to other countries while he was a business executive. The ad refers to a Washington Post story Friday that says Bain Capital, Romney's former private equity firm, owned companies that were "pioneers" in outsourcing.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the story was "fundamentally flawed." She added: "If President Obama had even half of Mitt Romney's record on jobs, he'd be running on it. But President Obama has the worst record on jobs and the economy of any president in modern history, which is why he is running a campaign based on disractions, not solutions."