President Obama and Mitt Romney picked up their pace of travel with just 13 days left in the election, criss-crossing the country to campaign in a bevy of swing states.
Their mission remains to sway the small pool of undecided voters, but their increasing emphasis is to implore their millions of supporters to vote, particularly in the battleground states that allow early ballots to be cast.
Obama was to campaign nearly around the clock Wednesday in what he told an Iowa crowd was ‘‘a 48-hour, fly-around marathon campaign extravaganza.’’
‘‘We’re going to pull an all-nighter. No sleep,’’ Obama beamed as the end of the long campaign closed in.
His day was taking him from Washington to Iowa, Colorado, California and Nevada, and then overnight to Florida. Not stopping to sleep in a hotel was meant to signal spirit and drive — although, with a comfortable suite on Air Force One, Obama was hardly crashing out in the coach section for his red-eye flight.
Romney traveled Wednesday to Reno, Nev., and then planned to stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before a three-stop swing in Ohio on Thursday. He got some help on the airwaves in seven swing states from actor Clint Eastwood, who filmed an ad backing Romney for the Republican independent group American Crossroads. Eastwood says a second Obama term would be a ‘‘rerun of the first and our country just couldn’t survive that.’’
The president kicked off the busiest day of his re-election campaign with an appeal to the Iowa voters who selected him in the first-in-the-nation Democratic caucus in 2008. Obama later won the state in the general election, but it’s a toss-up this year against Republican Mitt Romney and a suffering economy. Romney planned to visit the state later Wednesday with a stop in Cedar Rapids.
Across the miles, Obama was holding rallies from morning to night, appearing on ‘‘The Tonight Show’’ with Jay Leno and calling some voters from the plane. It is the first half of a two-day trip that will see him going to Florida, Virginia and Ohio on Thursday, with a stop sandwiched in for him to cast his vote in Chicago.
With Obama holding an edge in the uncontested states, Romney must win more of the battlegrounds to reach the minimum 270 electoral votes for the presidency. Those states are Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and New Hampshire.
All of them will be drawing enormous personal attention from Romney and Obama, their wives, their running mates and other surrogates through Nov. 6.
From the Romney campaign, aides to Ryan were casting his speech Wednesday at Cleveland State University as a significant pitch.
He was to argue that Americans stuck in poverty cannot afford four more years like the past four. Ryan also planned to tell voters that Romney offers a better pathway for low-income Americans to improve their lives through opportunity and upward mobility, including school choice and public-private partnerships.
Pickler reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Philip Elliott in Denver, Kasie Hunt in Reno, Nev., Ken Thomas and Josh Lederman in Washington and researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.