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Rivals begin final sprint with events in swing states

Obama, Romney crisscross nation to sway voters

President Obama attended a rally in Delray Beach, Fla., while Mitt Romney greeted voters during an event at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colo.GETTY IMAGES (left); REUTERS

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney launched dizzying cross-country sprints Tuesday that will take them through several toss­up states this week as their campaigns released new ads seeking to close the deal with the electorate.

Energized and buoyant after his aggressive debate performance against Romney only 12 hours earlier, President Obama drew peals of laughter from a raucous crowd of 11,000 supporters in Delray Beach by labeling his opponent as a victim of "Romnesia" who seems to forget his earlier positions.

"We had a severe outbreak last night," Obama said, smiling broadly, in reference to the final presidential debate. "It was at least stage 3 Romnesia. And I just want to go over with you some of the symptoms, Delray, because I want to make sure no one in the surrounding area catches it."


Obama chided Romney for taking positions in the debate — on the auto industry, Afghanistan, education, and Medicare — that the president said differed from previous stances.

"If you talk about how much you love teachers during a debate," Obama told the racially mixed gathering, "but said just a few weeks ago that we shouldn't hire any more because they won't grow the economy, what do you have?"

The overflow crowd at the Delray Beach Tennis Center roared back: "Romnesia!"

Out in Henderson, Nev., Romney told a large, cheering crowd that Obama wants a new term for the same policies that have produced slow economic growth and high unemployment for four years. ''He is a status quo candidacy. . . . That's why his campaign is slipping and ours is gaining so much steam,'' Romney said.

For both candidates, these stops were only the first on a long day. Obama traveled to Ohio for a rally later in Dayton. He will visit Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada on Wednesday. Romney held a rally with running mate Representative Paul Ryan and New Mexico's governor, Susana Martinez, Tuesday night in Colorado, then he travels to Iowa and back to Nevada on Wednesday.


The intense schedules reveal both the narrow landscape of states up for grabs and the frantic push to gain any advantage in the race.

Romney characterized the president's campaign as desperate and bereft of proposals.

"What you're seeing from the Obama campaign is an incredibly shrinking campaign," the former Massachusetts governor said at the Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver. "The president, he's out of ideas, he's out of excuses, and in November you're going to make sure he's out of office."

The Delray Beach rally was the president's 25th political event this year in Florida, which has 29 electoral votes.

Obama used the rally to introduce a 20-page pamphlet, titled "The New Economic Patriotism," that outlines his jobs plan.

The goal of the plan, which heralds what it calls 31 consecutive months of job growth, is "to strengthen middle-class security by making smart investments in education and training, growing small businesses, promoting technology and innovation, and reducing the deficit," according to the booklet.

The Romney campaign dismissed the document as a late and ineffective campaign ploy.

"A glossy pamphlet two weeks before an election is no substitute for a real agenda for America," said Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman.

Both candidates released new ads Tuesday. Romney's campaign used debate footage, featuring his charge that Obama began his presidency with an "apology tour" in a new ad anchored by a memorable turn of phrase: "You said that . . . America had dictated to other nations," Romney said during the debate. "Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators."


The "apology tour" claim is one of Romney's favorites, but the Obama campaign noted on Tuesday that it has been criticized as misleading by independent fact checkers.

Obama launched an upbeat, post-debate ad in seven swing states Tuesday, outlining his second-term agenda.

"Here's my plan for the next four years," Obama says in the ad. "Making education and training a national priority, building on our manufacturing boom, boosting American-made energy, reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where we can, and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. And ending the war in Afghanistan, so we can do some nation-building here at home. That's the right path."

Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at macquarrie@
. Matt Viser of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Callum Borchers contributed to this report, which
also used material from the Associated Press.