Obama, Romney Pumped for Dash to the Finish

Romney and Obama battle during the presidential debate at Lynn University.
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The candidates' strategies for getting to 270 are implicit in their itineraries for the next two weeks and in their spending on campaign ads.

Obama and his Democratic allies already have placed $47 million in ad spending across battlegrounds in the campaign's final weeks, while Romney and the independent groups supporting his candidacy have purchased $53 million, significantly upping their buys in Florida, Ohio and Virginia. And both sides are expected to pad their totals.

After Obama and Biden campaign together in Ohio on Tuesday, the president splits off on what his campaign is describing as a two-day "around-the-clock" blitz to six more battleground states. He'll be in constant motion — making voter calls and sleeping aboard Air Force One as he flies overnight Wednesday from Nevada to Tampa, Fla.

The vice president is midway through a three-day tour of uber-battleground Ohio, and Obama's team contends its best way of ensuring victory is a win there. The campaign says internal polling gives Obama a lead in the Midwestern battleground state, in large part because of the popularity of the president's bailout of the auto industry.

But even if Obama loses Ohio, his campaign sees another pathway to the presidency by nailing New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado.

Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are picking up the pace of their campaigning as well, and their schedule reflects an overarching strategy to drive up GOP vote totals in areas already friendly to the Republican nominee.

The Denver suburbs. Cincinnati. Reno, Nev. They're places that typically vote Republican, but where McCain fell short of the margins he needed to defeat Obama. To win in all-important Ohio, the GOP nominee must outperform McCain in typically Republican areas.

Romney and Ryan start their two-week dash in Henderson, Nev., then hopscotch to the Denver area for a rally with rocker-rapper Kid Rock and country music's Rodney Atkins at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Then Romney heads back to Nevada, on to Iowa and then east to Ohio for three overnights in a row. By week's end, he's likely to be back in Florida.

The following week brings a significant uptick in Romney's schedule. Aides say he'll touch down in two or three states a day, or hold that many daily events in big states like Florida.

Both sides are working furiously to lock down every possible early vote, and the results are evident in the 4.4 million people who've already cast ballots. Obama will detour to Chicago Thursday to make a statement about voting early by becoming the first president to cast his own early ballot.

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Benac reported from Washington. AP writers Kasie Hunt in Boca Raton, Fla., and Nedra Pickler, Julie Pace, Jack Gillum and Beth Fouhy in Washington and contributed to this report.

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