"The Obama people have been very successful in introducing a counter narrative to Romney. I think a lot of it has stuck," said Tad Devine, a former adviser to John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid who is not affiliated with Obama's campaign.
To press that case, Obama will frequently deploy his chief attack dog, Vice President Joe Biden, and his attack dog emeritus, former President Bill Clinton. Both will spend the next two months ripping into Romney, and traveling extensively in states where they can help boost the president's standing with white working-class voters, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Obama also will dispatch his popular wife, Michelle Obama, to key states as he looks to remind voters of why many voted for him in the past — they like him — and assure them that he can relate to the struggles they face.
With a race this tight, Obama himself isn't likely to let up on Romney.
Expect to hear the president draw stark differences with the Republican on issues important to Obama's core constituencies by emphasizing his first-term successes as he looks to win support at the margins.
He announced his support for gay marriage, motivating many young supporters, and made his case to college students that he would fight tooth-and-nail with Congress to keep student loan rates low. When the Supreme Court upheld his sweeping health care reform law, he warned supporters that Romney would work with Congress to dismantle it.
Eyeing the growing clout of Latino voters, Obama used his executive powers to prevent certain immigrants from being deported and making them eligible for work permits. And with Rust Belt voters in mind, the president talks about the need to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, an obvious attempt to highlight allegations of outsourcing against Romney.
There are some things Obama can't do anything about.
The government will issue another jobs status report on Oct. 5. The final jobs report before the election will arrive on Nov. 2 — just four days before Election Day.
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Julie Pace contributed to this report.
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